Gottfried Leibbrandt, the CEO of major global banking payments network SWIFT has announced there plans to launch a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) gateway to enable blockchain software firm R3 to link to GPI (Global Payments Innovation) payments from their platform.
Leibbrandt revealed the plans in a panel with Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple at the Paris Fintech Forum on Jan. 30. SWIFT currently has around 10,000 banks in its network. While the firm has taken part in several blockchain pilots last year, nothing substantial pertaining to its legacy wire transfer architecture was introduced. Talking about the new platform, Gottfried told the panel:
“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.”
— Clovis Loizillon (@ClovisLoizillon) January 30, 2019
Aimed at streamlining and subsequently increasing the transparency of cross-border payments, the GPI service continues to gain traction. Many observed that the platform could have been an attempt to circumvent the competition from the blockchain sector.
At the time, SWIFT doubted that blockchain could work at a larger scale, citing that the blockchain projects employed by banks till date have “either in-house or bilateral projects […] As you bring scale, you get escalating complexity.”
As for R3, the blockchain software firm has been on a high, after it launched its Corda Network. The firm has gathered over 300 partners from across multiple industries from both the private and public sector in order to develop Corda, its open-source blockchain platform along with its business-oriented offshoot Corda Enterprise.
In recent months, Corda has seen a wave of adoption. During December itself, R3’s Corda-based Euro Debt Solution was used by a German-French-Dutch triad of banks to successfully complete a live commercial paper transaction; SBI Holdings, a major Japanese financial services company announced its partnership with R3 to boost the use of Corda in Asia; and 26 French companies and five major banks completed a Know Your Customer (KYC) test using Corda.
Ripple Vs Swift
The panel featured Garlinghouse and Gottfried together for the first time. The duo made an interesting combination as Ripple is touted as a blockchain competitor to SWIFT’s global interbank network. Interestingly, Garlinghouse took a pot shot at SWIFT in November 2018 by commenting “what we are doing on a day-to-day basis is, in fact, taking over SWIFT.”