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Swift steps up blockchain exploration with proof of concept launch

Published 13 January 2017

Interbank messaging network Swift has stepped up its exploration of blockchain technology with the launch of a proof of concept (PoC).

The launch is aimed at finding whether distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be used by banks to improve the reconciliation of their nostro databases in real time, optimising their global liquidity.

Swift said that the PoC will test whether distributed ledgers may be able to help banks in lowering costs and operational risk.

As part of SWIFT’s global payments innovation (gpi) initiative, the scope of the PoC was determined in collaboration with leading correspondent banks.

Swift Banking Market and Swift gpi head Wim Raymaekers said: “Whilst existing DLTs are not currently mature enough for cross-border payments,[1] this technology, bolstered by some additional features from SWIFT, may be interesting for the associated account reconciliation.

“This PoC gives us the opportunity to test DLT and determine if it can be applied to this particular use case.”

The PoC, which will be launched in early 2017, is expected to see participation from SWIFT gpi member banks.

Swift said that it deploy open-source Hyperledger[2] technology, and integrate it with key its assets to bring it in line with the financial industry’s requirements.

Swift R&D, SWIFTLabs and User Experience head Damien Vanderveken said: “Swift will leverage its strong governance, PKI security scheme, BIC legal identifier framework and liquidity standards expertise to deliver a distinctive DLT PoC platform for the benefit of its community.”  

In September, it successfully completed the first phase of the gpi initiative pilot, clearing the way for the go-live of the service in early 2017.


Image:The proof of concept will be launched in early 2017 . Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.