Exclusive: IBM Blockchain’s Todd Scott on Maersk, World Wire and Food Trust

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by Teuta Franjkovic · 4 min read
Exclusive: IBM Blockchain’s Todd Scott on Maersk, World Wire and Food Trust
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Todd Scott, vice president of IBM Blockchain Global Trade spoke about blockchain projects IBM is engaged in as well as IBM’s cooperation with Stellar. He also said that Wold Wire will enable the use of stablecoins, and much more.

IBM and Maersk recently announced that Hapag-Lloyd and Singapore-based Ocean Network Express (ONE) Pte. Ltd -the world’s fifth and sixth largest carriers respectively – are the latest ocean carriers to join TradeLens.

Now, with many of the largest carriers committed to the blockchain-based trade digitization platform, more than half of the world’s container shipping volume will be represented on the network. The addition of Hapag-Lloyd and ONE will also help drive further adoption around the world, including an expanded footprint in Asia.

We spoke with Todd Scott, vice president of IBM Blockchain Global Trade, about blockchain projects IBM is engaged in and asked which ones he sees most successful.

According to Scott, one of that is for sure TradeLens. He said:

“With the addition of CMA CGM, Hapag-Lloyd, MSC and Ocean Network Express (ONE), data for nearly half of the world’s ocean container cargo will be traced on TradeLens. TradeLens entered production and is now operating with more than 100 participants who have tracked and shared over 500 million shipping events and documents.

The platform is in use across six continents, with data from 600 ports and terminals captured on the system by its members.”

He also mentioned IBM Food Trust that is now being used by more than 100 diverse members including the top four US food retailers. He added:

“It has processed more than 12 million transactions representing more than 8,000 products. Carrefour recently announced that it is using the blockchain network to allow consumers to trace its Mousseline brand mashed potatoes on the blockchain via a mobile app. It previously announced an app to trace organic chicken.”

IBM World Wire vs Ripple’s Interledger

Aware that there’ve been not so many news on IBM-Stellar cooperation lately (IBM World Wire) everybody are interested if there are any developments and how is this system different from Ripple‘s Interledger.

Scott said that their clients are currently running transactions in a test environment. He explained that since this is a new business model and the use of digital settlement instruments are new, this kind of phased approach is to be expected.

“We will continue adding and enabling available endpoints in accordance with local regulations.”

Also, when talking about Ripple, he called it a closed network that makes use of a single digital asset type to send payments across participants in the network. In this model, Ripple serves as the Issuer and Network Operator for xRapid, where all participants are required to use the Ripple-issued XRP as the settlement asset. He said:

“World Wire provides a technology layer for payments rooted in trust among all parties. Using highly secure distributed ledger technology, the payments platform can be used to augment financial flows worldwide by eliminating intermediaries involved in the clearing and settlement of payments.”

He added that the World Wire is a business-to-business solution that can improve customer experience by logistically improving the speeds and ability for payment providers to do more for their customers. However, he noted, it is not a direct-to-consumer solution.

“World Wire enables messaging between participants using an ISO 20022 standards-based API that allows payments to be sent and tracked in real time with no additional software.

Financial institutions can seamlessly connect their existing payment systems to World Wire’s APIs. Exchange rate quotes between currency pairs are provided in real time through participants on the World Wire network. All transaction details are recorded onto an immutable blockchain for clearing.

World Wire uses Stellar Lumens as an optional digital asset to transact on the blockchain network and will also enable the use of stable coins, which are asset-backed at one-to-one U.S. dollars per coin. IBM is not the issuer of any assets on the network.”

Talking about some eventual progress in IBM-Stellar work on stablecoins (let’s just mention that there are 26 stellar-based stablecoins to be launched in cooperation with Wirex), Scott said that they have several organizations exploring the use of fiat-backed stable coins on World Wire and they too are working through regulatory feedback as their respective countries explore and create guidance on how stable coins will be regulated.

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