SWIFT To Begin Blockchain Integration Trial

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Global payments network SWIFT has announced a trial integration with R3’s Corda infrastructure, in a move that could connect the legacy payment system with blockchain technology.

SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt told the Paris Fintech Forum that the firm was preparing to announce the integration, in a trial that will attempt to connect SWIFT systems with the wider blockchain ecosystem.

Following on, R3 co-founder Todd McDonald said the plan was to integrate SWIFT systems with Corda Settler.

“SWIFT GPI will integrate directly to Corda Settler, the application that allows participants on the Corda blockchain to initiate and settle payment obligations via both traditional and blockchain-based rails. This will enable obligations created or represented on Corda to be settled via the large and growing SWIFT GPI network.”

Corda Settler was launched in December as a platform designed to facilitate global payments using Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency, often discussed as a blockchain alternative to payment systems like SWIFT.

Designed specifically for inter-bank settlement, the Ripple link means the system could eventually interface with other blockchain and payments systems across the wider financial sector, with major banks worldwide already working with Ripple on blockchain settlement.

As a result, the technology will allow others running applications on the Corda platform to integrate payments by SWIFT.

R3 CEO David E. Rutter said that the move would allow all applications built on Corda to access transactions through the SWIFT banking and payments network.

“Following the recent launch of our Corda Settler, allowing for the payment of obligations raised on the Corda platform, it was a logical extension to plug into SWIFT GPI. SWIFT GPI has rapidly become the new standard to settle payments right across the world. All the blockchain applications running on Corda will thus benefit from the fast, secure and transparent settlement provided through the SWIFT GPI banks.”

The news marks the latest move toward blockchain becoming more mainstream across the banking system, as legacy institutions upgrade their systems to take advantage of the benefits of blockchain.

Luc Meurant at SWIFT said R3 was the “natural choice” for handling the trial.

“Given the adoption of the Corda platform by trade ecosystems, it was a natural choice to run this proof of concept with R3.”