IBM unveils blockchain-powered Pacific payment network

IBM is leading a project that uses public blockchain technology to make worldwide payments in developing countries more efficient and less expensive.

The KlickEx Group, IBM, a regional financial services company, and a non-profit organization, Stellar, which supports an open source network of BlockChain, have unfolded new regional cross-border solutions for payments, with the help of BlockChain technology of IBM for providing settlement and trade clearance in real times on a single network.

IBM recently announced this move on Monday through which the merchants and consumers can send money to another country in a real-time and it would certainly accelerate the payment process which usually takes days.

IBM's solution is already active, processing live transactions across 12 different currency corridors between the Pacific Islands and Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with the goal of expanding capabilities.

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Within a period of one year, it is expected to hand over 60% of all cross-border payments from the retail industry in the South Pacific and plans to go far beyond just that.

BlockChain that depends on a divergent network of computers for creating an indelible, transactions of tamper-proof record, is highly associated with the Bitcoin digital currency. Though, it can be used in several other apps such as tracking shipments or for the documentation of a series of banking transactions cross-border.

"This is the next step in the evolution of blockchain technology".

IBM Blockchain enables direct payments between two parties in any currency participating on the network while maintaining security.

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Presently, the banks manage such payments by keeping foreign accounts in a local currency and then debit the accounts as needed, this process is very slow. Each payment is immutable once recorded, and settlement instructions are provided via smart contracts on Hyperledger Fabric.

IBM chose to test launch its network in the Pacific Islands due to the low volume of transactions and limited risk that its blockchain network would be exposed to.

The report citing experts said the banks use of Stellar's digital currency is likely to be temporary as central banks will begin issuing digital currencies of their own, and that these become integral to blockchain-based money transfers. IBM informed that it is closely working with Spain's BBVA, Indonesia's Bank Danamon and Australia's National Australia Bank to implement solutions using blockchain.

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