SWIFT Announces Integration with R3 in a Bid to Improve Network’s Service

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by Wanguba Muriuki · 4 min read
SWIFT Announces Integration with R3 in a Bid to Improve Network’s Service
Photo: SWIFT Carreers / Facebook

R3 is taking the global financial network SWIFT by storm. Given R3 Corda and XRP’s close alignment, people start wondering what SWIFT integration with R3 means for Ripple.

SWIFT, the global banking payments network, plans to start testing its GPI Link payments standard via R3’s Corda platform. SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt speaking on stage at the Paris Fintech Forum said that the integration is currently a proof-of-concept. The integration will let enterprise blockchain software firm R3 link to GPI (Global Payments Innovation) payments from their platform.

The CEO also said SWIFT would be officially announcing its plans for a Proof-of-Concept later on Wednesday.  Leibbrandt was speaking in a joint panel with Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple for the first time. Ripple has long referred to itself as a blockchain competitor to the large SWIFT’s global interbank network.

SWIFT counts 10,000 banks in its network. In 2018, the network participated in multiple blockchain pilot projects. However, it is yet to substantially restructure its renowned wire transfer architecture. Gottfried told the Paris Panel that:

“Our new GPI platform is extremely interoperable and open, and we have always had links to other networks. We are announcing later today a Proof-of-Concept with R3 blockchain on trade, where you can instigate a payment on the trading platform, and then it goes into GPI. Therefore, we are exploring interconnectivity with a lot of things.”

The R3 Platform

According to a press release from SWIFT, individuals using the R3 platform can authorize payments through GPI Link. The users’ banks can now settle GPI payments. After completion, the GPI Link will report all the credit confirmation back to the trade platforms. The proof-of-concept will expand with time to support many other DLT, non-DLT and e-commerce trading platforms.

SWIFT’s GPI strives to streamline and enhance the efficiency of cross-border payments. As the service continued to expand in 2018, commentators suggested that it was triggered by competition from the blockchain sector.

The R3 platform has experienced rapid growth in recent years. However, there have also been several hiccups along the way. R3 and Ripple have some history between them. As we reported earlier, they had engaged in almost one-year of legal battle that was settled in an undisclosed agreement.

R3 seems like the early winner in the new competition with Ripple. Recently, Dutch international bank ING signed a 5-year deal with R3 enabling the bank to access R3’s commercial blockchain platform.

R3 Vs Ripple

As we reported earlier, Ripple had said that they would take over SWIFT on a day-to-day basis. At that time, SWIFT voiced its doubt as to whether blockchain or any other DLT platform could work at scale. The developers believed that scaling would result in escalating complexities.

As Ripple was striving to take over the global financial institutions’ systems, R3’s New Corda Settler App was launched. As we published earlier, this application facilitates traditional and blockchain-based payments for payment obligations supported on the Corda blockchain platform. The R3 app is gaining more user base than Ripple since it supports many digital currencies including XRP.

R3 said XRP is the first internationally recognized cryptocurrency to be supported by Settler. The move brought the Corda and XRP ecosystems into closer alignment, a rapprochement since Ripple and R3 previously locked horns in a legal dispute.

R3 Adoption

After launching its Corda Network recently, R3 has so far gathered at least 300 partners from multiple industries. Both public and private partners committed to collaborating on developing Corda and R3’s business-oriented offshoot Corda Enterprise. Corda has enjoyed a wave of adoption news with its Euro Debt Solution used by a German-French-Dutch triad of banks to execute a live commercial paper transaction.

Furthermore, Japan’s SBI Holdings announced its partnership with R3 to advance the use of Corda in Asia. Five major banks and 26 French companies completed a Know Your Customer (KYC) test using Corda.

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