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Ripple enters the ISO 20022 fray

Enterprise blockchain firm Ripple is now part of the ISO 20022 Standards Body. The move, which is confirmed on its website, makes it the first member of the Standards Body that is focused on distributed ledger technology.

The timing of this move is particularly interesting, coming as it does less than two months since fellow (or should that be rival) payments infrastructure firm SWIFT had to announce the pushback of its ambitious plans to migrate all cross-border payments to ISO 20022.

In a one-pager on ISO 20022, Ripple says that cross-border payments aren’t ready for the future, noting that global payments standards are fragmented, resulting in closed networks, unstructured data and opaque payments that require manual intervention and, ultimately, a poor payments experience. Ripple views ISO 20022 as the de facto global data standard for modern payments.

Already adopted in 70 countries around the world, there are predictions that 87% of all global financial transactions will be supported by ISO 20022 by 2023.

“It is our duty to continuously search for superior technological solutions to deliver ever improved remittance services for our customers,” said Nobuo Ando, representative director at SBI Remit. “With the steady rise of remittance flows, we see Ripple helping us open up new revenue potential and a better overall experience for our customers.”

Ripple says that through RippleNet and it’s ISO 20022 membership, its customers are able to:

  • Help define the future direction of cross-border payments.
  • Access a network of global financial institutions governed by rules and functional standards.
  • Leverage software to enable fast, transparent and seamless cross-border payments.
  • Connect to one standardised API for all counterparty connections.
  • Simplify implementation and reduce operational overhead.

The momentum that Ripple is carrying into its membership of the ISO 20022 Standards Body does seem to contrast with that of SWIFT. In March, saying it was acting on feedback from the financial services community, SWIFT announced it will enable ISO 20022 messages for cross-border payments and cash reporting businesses starting from the end of 2022. The original deadline announced for migration was November 2021. SWIFT put the pushback down to allowing banks to adopt the new standard at their own pace, reducing the total industry costs of realising the benefits of ISO 2022 together with the new platform.

The industry cooperative said that work already undertaken by the community for ISO 20022, including data remediation, channel improvements and back-office processing was not wasted and will play a critical role in enabling future innovation by banks. The end-date to enable full ISO 20022 for cross-border payments remains as originally planned, November 2025. The coexistence period for current SWIFT MT messages and a new API-based exchange will last until that date.

With Ripple now on board the ISO 20022 train, SWIFT’s next move in this space will be interesting to track.


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