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IBM seeks to transform cross-border payments with Blockchain World Wire

Tue, 19 Mar 2019, 06:27 am UTC

IBM has announced the launch of IBM Blockchain World Wire – a real-time blockchain-based global payments network for regulated financial institutions.

World Wire is currently in limited production and available in a growing number of countries. According to the official release, it has enabled payment locations in 72 countries, with 47 currencies and 44 banking endpoints.

IBM said that World Wire is the “first blockchain network of its kind to integrate payment messaging, clearing and settlement on a single unified network.” It has been designed to optimize and accelerate foreign exchange, cross border payments and remittances.

The network uses the Stellar protocol which makes cross-border money transfers point-to-point instead of the complex conventional correspondent banking processes, reducing the number of intermediaries in the process. The monetary value is transmitted in the form of digital assets, or stablecoins, which helps accelerate settlement time often in seconds.

“This simplified approach improves operational efficiency and liquidity management, streamlining payment reconciliation and reducing overall transaction costs for financial institutions,” the release said.

IBM explained that network participants would be able to dynamically choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement. World Wire currently supports settlement using Stellar Lumens (XLM) and a U.S. dollar stablecoin through IBM's previously-announced collaboration with Stronghold.

"We've created a new type of payment network designed to accelerate remittances and transform cross-border payments to facilitate the movement of money in countries that need it most," said Marie Wieck, General Manager, IBM Blockchain. "By creating a network where financial institutions support multiple digital assets, we expect to spur innovation and improve financial inclusion worldwide."

Six international banks, including Banco Bradesco, Bank Busan, and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), have signed letters of intent to issue their own stable coins on World Wire, adding Euro, Indonesian Rupiah, Philippine Peso, Korean Won and Brazilian Real stable coins to the network. This, however, is subject to pending regulatory approvals and other reviews.

IBM said it will continue to expand the ecosystem of settlement assets based on client demand and is actively growing the network with additional financial institutions globally.

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