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IBM blockchain and Stellar partner on cross-border banking

IBM’s head of blockchain solutions Jesse Lund has confirmed the tech giant is to use its World Wire platform, which uses the Stellar protocol, to power cross-border payments.

Stellar is an open-source, decentralised protocol for transfers between digital currencies such as bitcoin and fiat currency.

IBM says that Blockchain World Wire paves the way for banks and other regulated financial institutions to join the blockchain revolution.

Rather than going through a series of intermediaries when sending money across borders, the group has created a real-time, global payments network to support cross-border transactions and foreign exchange in more than 50 countries using digital assets, aka cryptocurrencies or “stable coins.”

Growing network

IBM originally announced a pilot of World Wire in October 2017, and reports that the network is officially accessible in a growing number of markets. It aims to assist financial institutions in improving the services they deliver to consumers by optimizing and accelerating foreign exchange, cross border payments and remittances.

Using the Stellar protocol, World Wire serves as a network provider for international payments, enabling point-to-point money transfers to circumvent the complexities of conventional correspondent banking.

"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.”

World Wire is promoted by IBM as the first blockchain network of its kind to integrate payment messaging, clearing and settlement on a single unified platform. Participants can also dynamically choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement. Currently, World Wire has enabled payment locations in 72 countries, with 48 currencies and 44 banking endpoints.

“I can confirm that we’re going to be talking to more than a few banks around the world, who are very interested and see tremendous potential in issuing stablecoins in their native fiat currency,” said Lund. “And that only creates a better system for participants on the World Wire network.”

According to reports, six banks have already confirmed their intent to issue stablecoins backed by their national fiat currencies on the network — including Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, South Korea’s Bank Busan and the Philippines’ Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

Other as-yet-undisclosed banks will reportedly issue stablecoins backed by the euro and Indonesian rupiah, among others, added Lund.

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