Jesse Lund, the Head of Blockchain Solutions and Digital Assets at IBM, spoke about whether there were concerns regarding the functions of World Wire, and the safety of its transactions, in an interview with CNBC. He also spoke about the impact World Wire would have on financial service systems like SWIFT.
Earlier this week, IBM announced the launch of World Wire in collaboration with Stellar. World Wire is a payment system that utilizes the benefits of blockchain technology, the Stellar Network in particular, and cryptocurrency, to settle cross-border payments in real-time. The US Dollar and Stellar Lumens [XLM] would be the currencies used to kick-start the payment network.
In the interview, Lund was asked about the implications Bitcoin would have on their network, considering the recent turn of events associated with the coin. He was also asked whether there were concerns and questions pertaining to the functions of World Wire and the safety of transactions. He said,
“[…] Bitcoin kind of started the momentum of all of this blockchain. And what IBM has been doing, […], is adding security and confidence to the system. So we are building on new idea, which is the ability to store monetary value electronically and to be able to move that value around the world in real-time.”
He further spoke about what made World Wire different, in light of the presence of Western Union and MoneyGram in the same field. He stated that the current cross-border payments system had issues, adding that there were inefficiencies in the way banks communicate and that World Wire was separate from the network.
“[…] Those things are distinct and they require a lot of co-ordination and reconciliation after the fact, that adds, who would call friction, that adds, you know, time complexity, and cost. And so, by having a digital store of value that can move with the payment data, we make the whole process a lot more seamless and a lot more point to point.”
This was followed by Lund speaking about the existing financial systems such as SWIFT. He stated that SWIFT “was a messaging platform”, while what IBM provided “was messaging like SWIFT”. He said,
“We’re based on standards that SWIFT has ultimately developed. Standards that have come out of SWIFT, you know, are inherently part of the platform itself. So, yeah, we’re trying to help banks optimize the way that they service their customers and its becoming more and more global, so money moving cross-broader needs to move more efficiently.”
Further, he was questioned on whether they faced any pushback from banks or whether they were viewed as a threat. Lund strongly disagreed, stating that IBM’s role in Word Wire was “as the network operator” and an infrastructure provider. He said,
“We’re trying to build the foundation on which banks can continue to enhance their businesses and to build new applications that will ultimately affect their customers. So, we’re just trying to make it easier for them to pass along improvements and better user experience for flocks like us.”
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