- Gottfried Leibbrandt, the CEO of SWIFT, has announced that the company will be partnering with R3
- The partnership will see SWIFT setting up a Proof-of-Work gateway through which R3 will link a GPI
At the Paris Fintech Forum on January 30, Gottfried Leibbrandt, the CEO of SWIFT, announced that the firm is entering a collaboration with blockchain consortium R3. The partnership will allow SWIFT to launch a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) of a gateway through which R3 can link a Global Payments Innovation. Leibbrandt said:
“Our new GPI platform is extremely interoperable and open, and we’ve always had links to other networks […] we are announcing later today a Proof-of-Concept with R3 blockchain on trade, where you can initiate a payment on the trade platform, and then it goes into GPI. So we’re exploring interconnectivity with a lot of things.”
Cross border transfers on the rise
SWIFT’s GPI has gained considerable attention in the last year with many seeing its performance as a response to the growing use of blockchain for cross-border funds transfer which tends to be quicker and cheaper.
This announcement was made by Leibbrandt at a joint panel with Ripple, considered by many to be the main blockchain alternative to SWIFT, with Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, even saying at one point, “what we are doing on a day-to-day basis is in fact taking over SWIFT.”
There is some level of debate about the possible coexistence of blockchain and mainstream firms. For a while, the dominant narrative was that blockchain had come to usurp mainstream financial firms.
With time, however, we’ve seen many blockchain firms join forces with mainstream financial institutions. Even Ripple, with its plans of taking over cross-border transactions, recently teamed up with the National Bank of Kuwait to aid them in their funds’ transfers.
The pressure from the blockchain industry does seem to spur many of these firms into action and SWIFT’s new venture with R3 could be mutually beneficial.
R3 has, in recent times, launched the Corda Foundation which works to bring transparency to its Corda platform. This is along with its other collaborations in the last year.
A release date for the SWIFT-R3 project hasn’t yet been announced but the trend of financial institutions teaming up with blockchain firms to increase the efficiency in cross-border transactions doesn’t seem to be stopping soon.