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BIS and Swift to host ISO 20022 hackathon

BIS and Swift to host ISO 20022 hackathon

The Bank for International Settlements and Swift are to run an ISO 20022 and API hackathon in a global search for new ways to make cross-border payments faster, cheaper and more transparent.

Hosted by the BIS Innovation Hub and interbank network Swift, the seven-day virtual hackathon invites participating teams from banks, fintechs, payment service providers and corporates, to develop and showcase solutions that improve cross-border payments.

Set for adoption by at least 90% of the world's public and private high-value networks over the next four years, the new messaging standard, in combination with APIs, can address multiple pain points hobbling cross-border payment flows, including sanctions checking, AML & identity, invoice reconciliation, message translation, and end user transparency of speed and fees.

Participating teams can adapt their existing product to make use of ISO 20022 or build and demonstrate new services.

Demos will be viewed by a panel of judges from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Bank of England, European Central Bank, Swift, Innovate Finance (UK), CPMI, Payments Canada, New Payments Platform (Australia), Swish (Sweden) and DBS Bank (Singapore).

Interested parties must register for the event by 5 March. The three winning teams will get to showcase their products at the 3-day BIS Innovation Summit from 23-25 March.

Comments: (7)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 17 February, 2021, 17:07Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

When I first read the headline I thought this might be something new. It initially looked to be a good idea. However, it doesn’t feel like an innovation hackathon.

The issues of X-border transactions are not new, it’s something that FinTech has been looking to solve for many years now. And they have. We have solutions out there that work, they just don’t run over SWIFT. Solutions such as Transferwise have shown what sort of customer experiences actual customers expect, and they have grabbed a lot of traction and business away from the banks (and by extension SWIFT). Then we have Ripple, who are solving these issues in a very different way, though granted it may not be the desired solution of banks or central banks for obvious reasons, however they do provide a solution to x-border transactions (better than the current offerings from banks and SWIFT). We now have in the marketplace RTGS.global, which has spoken at length about solving these problems, and they are already ISO 20022 based, already enable instant transparent payments (which renders tracking legacy),  can be used by banks and no doubt is a considerably cheaper more modern architecture. They would also be nuts not to have on their roadmap value add services such as identity, screening, AML etc.

So is this really a case of innovation, or a case of SWIFT trying to copy and cobble ideas together to help keep relevant? This feels more like a fishing exercise to inspire the hundreds of engineers SWIFT seem to be trying to onboard...


John Davies
John Davies - Incept5 - London 19 February, 2021, 00:28Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

In response to the above... This is about ISO 20022 not SWIFT or cross-border payments. ISO 20022 is a standard for standards. Payments and FX are just a part of what ISO 20022 defines. If we are to innovate, and you mention identity, sanctions and AML, you have to understand your data and that’s increasingly likely to be in ISO 20022.

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - RTGS & ClearBank - London 19 February, 2021, 12:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Understanding data, ISO 20022 is limited in its view of what data I may need to understand. In its drive to be the standard for all things financial message based, it actually creates payloads and restrictions that just dont apply to almost all use cases. It also leads to wide variances in the actual implementation of ISO 20022 (where it is actually used for payment systems, which is very limited still today)

Sometimes less is more...

John Davies
John Davies - Incept5 - London 20 February, 2021, 00:43Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes @Andrew, I have to agree, it’s the classic paradox though, you either have dozens of standards like FIX (with multiple versions), FoML (with multiple versions), ISO 20022 with endless flavours like SEPA, BOJNet et al or we somehow find a solution that solves everyone’s problem (and usually not for long) and mandate that world-wide, as SWIFT do every November. As someone who’s spent most of my working life dealing with financial messaging transformation, integration and processing I have to say it keeps me busy. If was asked to integrate to a new payments system and they said it was ISO 20022 based (as I have done) I have to say I’d cringe, a simple domain-specific message is usually a lot easier.
Maxim Neshcheret
Maxim Neshcheret - CMA Small Systems AB - Singapore 21 February, 2021, 07:51Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I have feeling colleagues that you talk about the format, not Standerd in your posts 

Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith - RTGS & ClearBank - London 22 February, 2021, 10:24Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

A standard should set the format. The standard sets the datadictionary and attempts to set the format. The issue is that its not perscriptive enough and that it contains too much data. 

John Davies
John Davies - Incept5 - London 22 April, 2021, 04:071 like 1 like Maxim, no one has mentioned formats, XML, ASN.1, JSON, SWIFT 7775/15022, CSV. None of that is important, it’s an implementation detail. I was referring to the ISO 20022 ontology, the data dictionary and its definition in RDF. Frankly it’s a mess, dozens of redefinitions of the same thing, no wonder people struggle with it. That said. It keeps me busy so I’m not complaining :-)