Swift Ramps Up Global Payments Race, Launches New Service As Crypto Heats Up ‘Extraordinary Change’
Cryptocurrencies are front and center at this year’s Sibos 2019 conference. Swift’s board of directors chairman, Yawar Shah, says the global financial industry is being transformed due to the introduction of innovative technologies, including digital currencies.
Speaking at this week’s annual banking and financial conference hosted by Swift, Shah notes,
“The financial industry is undergoing an extraordinary change, because of new entrants like Facebook’s Libra and the emergence of technologies like crypto assets.”
“The financial industry is undergoing an extraordinary change, because of new entrants like Facebook’s Libra and the emergence of technologies like cryptoassets.” – Yawar Shah @swiftcommunity https://t.co/KffvCcFk6I
— ConsenSysEvents @ Sibos (@ConsenSysEvents) September 23, 2019
The global payments industry is experiencing significant changes due to increased competition from blockchain-based platforms delivering 24-hour settlements that are cheaper, faster and easy to track.
Swift, the dominant player in the space with over 11,000 member banks and financial institutions, is facing an increasing number of challengers who are facilitating the rapid movement of money around the world – from Ripple’s network RippleNet to Stellar-based global payments platform IBM World Wire. Also gathering steam is JP Morgan’s Interbank Information Network, an Ethereum-based platform using JPM Coin, which has grown to 320 member banks with Deutsche Bank joining most recently.
Facebook is also aiming to disrupt existing global payments processes and infrastructure with its stablecoin project Libra. Meanwhile China’s tech giants are dominating the consumer space with over a billion users each on AliPay and WeChat Pay, according to a recent study by the Brookings Institute.
On Monday, Swift introduced a new service to deliver global instant payments. It will now integrate its cross-border payments solution, gpi (Global Payment Initiative), into domestic instant payment systems.
According to the announcement,
“These major advances will extend the speed and transparency of gpi deeper into domestic markets, enabling banks to leverage their existing investments to deliver a better service to their customers. Integrating gpi, through banks, into domestic real-time payment systems reuses existing cross-border and domestic payments infrastructure, thereby minimising implementation costs and avoiding the complexities of adopting new infrastructure.
The service will be available to all types of banks’ end customers, from large multi-nationals to SMEs, and from retail to e-commerce platforms.”
At Sibos 2019, Swift’s head of gpi customer success Fabien Depasse is discussing how the bank-to-bank messaging giant’s gpi is seeing significant growth in traffic, corridors and overall adoption.
Over 3,500 financial institutions are reportedly using gpi which allows clients to conduct transactions in up to 150 different currencies.
“The idea behind gpi is to go from the old model to a fully transparent, faster system. A system not only allowing customers to know when the end beneficiary is credited, but also allowing payments to be traced and with data unaltered.”