IBM’s head of blockchain solutions Jesse Lund has confirmed the tech giant is gearing up for an announcement about its World Wire platform, which uses the Stellar protocol to power cross-border payments.
Stellar is an open-source, decentralized protocol for transfers between digital currency and fiat currency.
Jesse Lund told Cheddar that banks are “very interested” in utilizing stablecoins – a type of cryptocurrency that’s designed to maintain stable prices measured in fiat currencies – to move money around the world. Compared to traditional money moving around on legacy systems with clearing houses and various intermediaries, these cryptocurrencies can settle much faster and more cheaply.
“We’re really feeling excited that we’re on a roll to build something new and revolutionary that’s really going to change the landscape of cross-border payments.”
“I can confirm that we’re going to be talking about more than a few banks around the world who are very interested and see tremendous business benefit to issue stablecoins in their native fiat currency. And that only creates a better ecosystem for participants on the World Wire network.”
As operators of legacy platforms try to appeal to mobile users on the move and the on-demand appetite of consumers in the digital age, IBM is not the only incumbent trying to harness emerging solutions to revolutionize the banking industry.
Last month, JP Morgan became the first major bank in the US to create a digital asset: JPM Coin.
JPM Coin is reportedly designed to power a network for settling payments between the lender and its clients, utilizing blockchain technology to transfer cross-border payments or corporate debt issuance services.
According to a report by CNBC, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon imagines a range of possibilities for JPM Coin, as the digital economy continues to evolve.
“JPMorgan Coin could be internal, could be commercial, it could one day be consumer.”
When asked how IBM World Wire differs from JPM Coin, Lund outlines a key distinction between JPM’s model of exclusion and IBM’s model of inclusion.
“It’s not a proprietary solution like JPM Coin’s solution, although I think what they’re doing makes a lot of sense for them. What JPM is doing also, I think, adds tremendous validation to what we’re doing. But our view for stablecoins is that they should be more broadly accessible. And what World Wire seeks to do is provide fungibility of digital assets across financial institutions. So I think that’s really going to be the game changer in the future.”
Lund and Jed McCaleb, the co-founder of Stellar, will give a presentation on digital assets and banking at the upcoming Money20/20 conference in Singapore on March 19th.
According to the agenda, IBM will be making an “exclusive product announcement” during the event.