Technology giant International Business Machines (IBM) launched its own global payments network on Tuesday, in 72 countries. The platform is called World Wire and is based on the distributed ledger system, commonly known as blockchain.
IBM’s latest offering is a real-time global payments network for regulated financial institutions. World Wire is aimed at optimizing and enhancing speeds and security of foreign exchange, cross-border payments, and remittances. The platform has been officially launched in 72 countries, operating with 47 fiat currencies and 44 banking endpoints.
IBM General Manager for Blockchain Technology, Marie Wieck stated that this will be the company’s first foray in integrating payment messaging, clearing and settlements. The platform will allow users to dynamically choose from a plethora of digital assets for settlements, Wieck added. She also said that the World Wire payments network is designed to accelerate remittances and revolutionize cross-border payments in a bid to facilitate the movement of money in countries that need it most.
Blockchain has emerged as one of the most preferred and sought after technologies for businesses across the globe. What started as the base for cryptocurrencies has now become the hottest topic of discussion amongst tech circles. The platform has been studied extensively by researchers over the past decade, and the results have been overwhelming.
It is now being implemented in major business sectors like medical facilities, banking and finance, logistics, e-commerce, and many more. Several giant corporations, including IBM, Facebook, JPMorgan, TCS, and VISA, have been exploring blockchain potentials in their respective fields.
Couple of days ago, payment services giant VISA Inc. revealed its plans to integrate blockchain and cryptocurrencies in its operations worldwide, to penetrate the space, which is more or less underserved globally. In 2018, banking behemoth HSBC executed forex transactions worth over $250 billion using blockchain based networks. JPMorgan, America’s largest investment bank, became the first in the US to launch its own cryptocurrency.
Apart from forex and money transfers, the platform is also being implemented in agriculture and medical sectors. Recently, lawmakers from the US state of Colorado recommended the use of blockchain in agriculture, after conducting extensive research. In Asian markets, blockchain is fast becoming a power to reckon with. According to a data released by the UN World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), China filed the most number of (930+) blockchain based patents in 2018, followed by the United States (860+).
IBM has been leading the blockchain space in the US, collaborating with governments in countries like Australia and Argentina to develop blockchain platforms for government sectors.
The World Wire platform will be operated under the Stellar (XLM) protocol to facilitate end-to-end money transfers. Its underlying blockchain platform will significantly reduce intermediaries, and time taken for transactions to be completed. The New York-based tech giant expects to boost innovation and financial inclusion worldwide, by creating a network which would enable financial institutions to support multiple digital assets, Wieck said.
Demand for global money transfers is on the rise, with thousands of new users joining the space each day, making the existing platforms incapable to serve such a large number of users efficiently. This has led to industry players like banks and payment service providers to find new ways to reduce time and costs. The blockchain is absolutely ideal for this, and hence, its demand has grown over the past couple of years.
The features of blockchain like data security, lightning transfers and transparency are apt for cross-border transactions. On top of that, the emergence of business stalwarts like IBM and others on the blockchain scene has boosted research and development on the platform. Newer potentials of blockchain are being found with passing time, which has made it the most potent internet technology created in the 21st century.