IBM, the tech giant, is on a mission to bring blockchain to the mainstream. Better yet, it is seeking to be the company that brings blockchain to the masses. On Monday 18th March, the IBM arm in charge of developing solutions for the blockchain space – IBM Blockchain announced the launch of the much anticipated World Wire network, a blockchain network that is built on top of the Stellar public network.
IBM describes it as the “first blockchain network of its kind to integrate payment messaging, clearing and settlement on a single unified platform and Participants are also allowed to dynamically choose from a variety of digital assets for settlement.”
As of launch time, IBM Blockchain has already signed up six international banks that aim to create their version of stable coins backed 1:1 against their local fiat currencies. All six banks have signed letters of intent with IBM. The stablecoins will be built atop the World Wire network, the messaging and communication network (think SWIFT) which will enable them to make seamless cross border payments.
Only one bank’s identity has been revealed but IBM Blockchain should announce the other partners soon enough. The known bank is Philippines-based RCBC, whose stablecoin will be pegged to the local Peso. The rest of the banks will be creating stablecoins pegged to the Euro, Indonesian rupiah, Korean won, and Brazilian reals in accordance with respective regulatory provisions.
Jesse Lund, the head of IBM Blockchain said on an interview with Forbes on Monday that:
“We’ve created a new type of payment network that is unique in the sense that it streamlines the ability of businesses and consumers to move money around the world in real time. This enables improved transparency without sacrificing the regulatory controls and policies we need in order to make sure that there aren’t bad actors in the system. We are convening a brand new network in 72 countries that will support pay-in and payout endpoints in 48 currencies.”
The World Wire is basically a remittances network designed to compete head to head against Ripple and SWIFT. Marie Wieck, IBM Blockchain General Manager puts it more precisely:
“We’ve created a new type of payment network designed to accelerate remittances and transform cross-border payments to facilitate the movement of money in countries that need it most.”
She added that “By creating a network where financial institutions support multiple digital assets, we expect to spur innovation and improve financial inclusion worldwide.” The World Wire currently offers settlements in two currencies, Stellar’s Lumens [XLM’] and the USD-pegged Stronghold stablecoin.
A spokesperson for RCBC, Emmanuel Narciso, Group Head, Global Transaction Banking, RCBC has said that the bank is excited being one of the first to test out the innovative solution.
“RCBC is pleased to be an early innovator with plans to issue our own Peso stable coin on World Wire, pending final approval from our regulators,” he said.
“We’re focused on innovation that adds value for our customers, and World Wire presents a tremendous opportunity to transform and enhance our payment infrastructure,” he continued.
The IBM World Wire was first announced back in October 2017 as the first pilot program was launched on the platform. It’s been under development for a long time (in the crypto timeline) but is now finally launched officially and available to be adopted by financial institutions to create their version of stablecoins and enable better cross border payments.
As revealed by IBM the network is supported in 72 countries so far with 48 currencies and 44 banking endpoints.