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World’s Largest Financial Messaging System SWIFT Is Testing Blockchain

UTC by Bhushan Akolkar · 2 min read
World’s Largest Financial Messaging System SWIFT Is Testing Blockchain
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SWIFT shall be working with blockchain solutions provider Symbiant to bring innovation in the financial payments market.

SWIFT, the messaging system used by several countries and conducting tens of millions of transactions every day is now testing the use of blockchain technology. The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) has joined hands with fintech firm Symbiont Inc.

SWIFT said that collaboration aims to drive “efficiencies in communicating significant corporate events”. Top financial players like Northern Trust, Citibank, and Vanguard are also part of the collaboration. SWIFT has a presence in more than 200 countries and delivers secure messages to over 11,000 companies.

SWIFT has been in the news since the beginning of the year as war broke out between Russia and Ukraine. With its latest pilot blockchain project, SWIFT will automate corporate action workflow using Assembly, Symbiont’s technology platform. SWIFT will leverage the smart contract functionality of the platform and other blockchain capabilities to “create a network effect that leverages our 11,000 plus institutions connected to SWIFT globally”.

SWIFT said that Symbiont’s smart contract technology will compare info shared between participants. It will also flag “discrepancies, contradictions or inconsistencies across custodians”. As part of the effort, the corporate action data from SWIFT messages will be translated using SWIFT’s translator tool and later uploaded to Symbiont’s blockchain.

SWIFT’s Push for Innovation

Almost everyone in the financial sector is considering a move to blockchain considering the benefits that the technology brings. SWIFT’s latest partnership with Symbiont shows its efforts to innovate the payments space. Symbiont will offer its blockchain expertise to solve inefficiencies in the financial sector. Speaking on the matter, Tom Zschach, chief innovation officer at SWIFT, said:

“By bringing Symbiont’s Assembly and smart contracts together with SWIFT’s extensive network, we’re able to automatically harmonize data from multiple sources of a corporate action event. This can lead to significant efficiencies.”

The blockchain pilot is currently in development and a select group of participants will also test it and provide feedback by the month-end. In case of success, SWIFT will extend it to cover more corporate events.

Mark Smith, co-founder and chief executive officer at Symbiont said:

“Via our smart contract technology, we are enabling market participants to automate the reconciliation process. We look forward to taking the next steps in exploring what can be built on top of this high-quality- data source.”

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