Tom Lee to Central Bankers: Do You Like SWIFT Because It’s Backwards-Compatible With the Abacus?
At Ripple’s Swift 2018 blockchain convention, Fundstrat’s Tom Lee put the spotlight on SWIFT – the international payment network that financial institutions rely on to move money.
During a panel called “Central Banks Show and Tell”, Lee asked representatives from the Banco Central Do Brasil, Payments Canada and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Fund about the failure rate of SWIFT transactions.
“I was really struck by Brad’s comments where he said the error rate on SWIFT was almost double digits. And when you think about financial systems and their responsibilities and the cost of these errors, because it could create liquidity problems, how do the central banks grade cross-border systems now? Could you just tell us, do you like working with SWIFT and is it state of the art, or is it because it’s backwards-compatible to the abacus?”
The abacus is a calculating tool from the Roman era that’s used in modern times to teach math to children.
After some laughter and a pregnant pause, Marcelo Yard from Banco Central Do Brasil responded.
“The question is, if you want to replace SWIFT with something, you have to show us, the suspicious guys, what it’s worth. How it’s good. How it would be good for us, for everybody. But I think cross-border payments are an interesting thing to explore in DLT. I think it’s a good thing. We are looking at how could we evolve.”