SWIFT Chief Announces Trial DLT Integration With R3

SWIFT, the global banking payments network, is to begin testing its GPI payments standard through R3’s Corda platform.

Speaking on stage at the Paris Fintech Forum this morning, SWIFT CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt said: “Later today we are announcing an integration with R3.”

In a follow-up announcement, the firm explained that the “integration” will be a trial that will connect SWIFT’s GPI Link gateway with R3’s Corda platform to monitor payment flows and support application programming interfaces (APIs), as well as SWIFT and ISO standards.

“SWIFT GPI will integrate directly to Corda Settler, the application that allows participants on the Corda blockchain to initiate and settle payment obligations via both traditional and blockchain-based rails,” explained R3 co-founder Todd McDonald. “This will enable obligations created or represented on Corda to be settled via the large and growing SWIFT GPI network.”

In the trial, corporates using the R3 platform will be able to authorize payments from their banks via GPI Link; GPI payments will be settled by the corporates’ banks, and the resulting credit confirmations will be reported back to the trade platforms via GPI Link on completion.

While the trial initially addresses R3’s trade environment, it will be extended to support other distributed ledger technology (DLT), non-DLT and e-commerce trade platforms.

David E. Rutter, CEO of R3, said in a statement:

“Following the recent launch of our Corda Settler, allowing for the payment of obligations raised on the Corda platform, it was a logical extension to plug into SWIFT GPI. SWIFT GPI has rapidly become the new standard to settle payments right across the world. All the blockchain applications running on Corda will thus benefit from the fast, secure and transparent settlement provided through the SWIFT gpi banks.”

Luc Meurant, SWIFT’s chief marketing officer, added: “All trade platforms require tight linkages with trusted, fast and secure cross-border payments mechanisms such as GPI. While DLT-enabled trade is taking off, there is still little appetite for settlement in cryptocurrencies and a pressing need for fast and safe settlement in fiat currencies.”

Meurant said that, via GPI Link, banks will be able to provide rapid, transparent settlement services to e-commerce and trading platforms.

“Given the adoption of the Corda platform by trade ecosystems, it was a natural choice to run this proof of concept with R3,” he added.

At the event Wednesday, Leibbrandt was onstage with Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, which has long coveted SWIFT’s expansive banking network and often cites its aging architecture.

In December, R3 launched the Corda Settler, an application aimed to facilitate global cryptocurrency payments within enterprise blockchains and which would use Ripple’s XRP to start.

R3 said at the time that XRP was the first globally recognized cryptocurrency to be supported by Settler, bringing the Corda and XRP ecosystems into closer alignment – something of a rapprochement considering Ripple and R3 were previously locked in a legal dispute.

Update (12:30 UTC, Jan. 30 2019): SWIFT has clarified CEO Gottfried Leibbrandt’s statement to CoinDesk, saying that the integration is a proof-of-concept at this stage. The headline has been amended to reflect the new information.

Update (12:45 UTC, Jan. 30 2019): The article has also been updated with details later provided by SWIFT in an announcement 

Leibbrandt (L) and Garlinghouse (C) image via Paris Fintech Network

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