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Visa treads on Swift's toes with blockchain pilot for high value payments

21 October 2016  |  17467 views  |  0 Visa logo

Visa is working with blockchain outfit Chain on the development of a near real-time funds transfer system for high value bank-to-bank and corporate payments.

Visa B2B Connect, which the card sheme plans to pilot in 2017, is designed to improve B2B payments by providing a system that promises near real-time notification and finality of payment aligned with an immutable system of record over a permissioned private blockchain.

The development pitches Visa into competition with interbank funds transfer network Swift and other emerging challengers such as Ripple.

“The time has never been better for the global business community to take advantage of new payment technologies and improve some of the most fundamental processes needed to run their businesses,” says Jim McCarthy, executive vice president, innovation and strategic partnerships, Visa. “We are developing our new solution to give our financial institution partners an efficient, transparent way for payments to be made across the world.”

The company is working with Chain, a serious player in the financial blockchain space which has raised over $40 million in funding from Khosla Ventures, RRE Ventures, and strategic partners including Capital One, Citigroup, Fiserv, Nasdaq, Orange, and Visa. Chain is working with its investor stakeholders on a variety of use cases for the deployment of technology in financial markets, most visibly with Nasdaq in private market securities, proxy voting and clearing.

This is not the first time Visa has dabbled with blockchain technologies. In September last year, the card scheme's innovation unit kicked off a two-month POC in collaboration with Epiphyte to simulate real-world remittance transactions using the bitcoin blockchain. Last month Visa Europe entered the fray, with a pilot project exploring the application of blockchain technology in domestic and cross-border funds transfers in conjunction with Vancouver-based blockchain outfit BTL.

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