IBM Blockchain World Wire is the new financial rail built on top of Stellar Lumens blockchain that simultaneously clears and settles cross-border payments in near real-time.
The primary goal of this product is optimizing and quickening foreign exchange, cross-border payments, and remittances — which has long been one of blockchain technology’s promises.
Stellar Blockchain as a Host for the New Payment Rail
Using the Stellar protocol, World Wire serves as a network provider for international payments, enabling point-to-point money transfers in lieu of the complexities of conventional correspondent banking. While IBM announced an initial pilot of World Wire in October 2017, the network is officially accessible in a growing number of markets from March 18th.
World Wire is a direct competitor to Ripple’s XRP ledger, with whom Stellar has a shared and tumultuous past. Similar to Ripple, World Wire attempts to do away with banking intermediaries that add complexity and cost to the traditional international payments systems.
How does IBM World Wire Work?
To use the new payment system, two financial institutions have to agree on the currency — a stablecoin or any digital asset — to be used as a bridge asset between any two fiat currencies.
They will then be using World Wire APIs, that can be plugged into banks’ existing systems. Fiat currency is first exchanged into a digital asset at bank A. It is then transmitted to bank B, where it is converted into a second fiat currency. “All transaction details are recorded onto an immutable blockchain for clearing,” says IBM.
World Wire is the first blockchain platform that allows for payment messaging, clearing and settlement of transactions on a singular platform.
Funds are settled with Stellar Lumens and a USD backed stable coin (Stronghold).
First Banks Already on Board
As Coindesk reports, six international banks have signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins, or tokens backed by fiat currency, on World Wire, an IBM payment network that uses the Stellar public blockchain. The network promises to let regulated institutions move value across borders – remittances or foreign exchange – more quickly and cheaply than the legacy correspondent banking system.
So far three of the banks have been identified – Philippines-based RCBC, Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, and Bank Busan of South Korea – the rest, which are soon to be named, will offer digital versions of euros and Indonesian rupiah, “pending regulatory approvals and other reviews,” IBM said.
IBM and Stellar Partnership
Banks, central banks, money transfer operators, and financial institutions regularly outsource technology integrations to IBM. These entities are now interested in distributed ledgers, but would rather go to a trusted firm to apply DLT to their businesses vs attempt to do it internally.
IBM’s value-add is the validating and operational presence on the public Stellar network that makes it more attractive for enterprises to deploy assets and solutions on publicly accessible blockchain networks.
– Jesse Lund, VP Blockchain, IBM (1)
IBM clients’ DLT needs fall into two overall camps: private networks or public networks. IBM provides a private, permissioned solution via Hyperledger that can be extended to a public solution on Stellar.
IBM’s Blockchain Platform strategy provides at its core, a toolkit to create secure private Blockchain networks using Hyperledger Composer and Fabric, as well as interoperability with public networks such as Stellar.
– Jesse Lund
What Can This Do for XLM Token?
Even though this is a great adoption boost for the whole crypto industry and especially great news for XLM token holders, the market hasn’t shown too much excitement which reflected in XLM price staying in line with the rest of the market, ergo pretty stagnant over the last couple of days.
However, IBM has been and will continue to be the major driving force behind XLM, lending it legitimacy and good future outlook. The price hasn’t moved too much as the news broke but make no mistake that this is a positive impulse that should pay its dividends to XLM holders down the stretch.
About Stellar Lumens
Stellar Lumens is a cryptocurrency platform that focuses on remittance and cross-border payments. It was founded in early 2014 by Jed Mccaleb and Joyce Kim.The Stellar protocol is supported by a nonprofit, the Stellar Development Foundation.
Stellar is aiming to be an open financial system that gives people of all income levels access to low-cost financial services. These services include, but are not limited to:
- Mobile Branches
- Mobile Money
In addition to these services, one very powerful feature of the network is their Distributed Exchange. Users can liquidate/exchange their funds for other cryptocurrencies or fiat currencies using the platform’s exchange anchors.