Visa Launches Blockchain Payment System

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In 2016, Visa made it known that they were making strides into its first B2B blockchain adoption. This was in the wake of institutions and big corporations moving into blockchain adoption and investments. When the plan was launched, it was aimed at making cross border payments easier, transparent and secure by facilitating payments directly between institutions/enterprises by eliminating the middle man. On board with Visa were a few partnering banks namely South Korea’s Shinhan Bank, Commerce Bank in the US, Singapore’s United Overseas Bank and Union Bank in the Philippines.

Enter 2017, and Fintech became a priority for investors and attracting close to $1 billion in the first ten months. The need to simplify payment systems and cut transaction costs and streamlining the needs of the global and regional markets became the driving force for investors. As of 2015, research submitted on the online payments systems globally stood at $1.8 trillion and was estimated to grow to about $2.3 trillion by 2020. The system that is used in online payment systems (electronic invoice presentment and payment EIPP) reduces paperwork and shortens the period of time it would take to manually execute payments across borders.

B2B however is not there to replace the system as mentioned earlier, it is only meant to cut costs and eliminate the third party. As it stands, B2B is not exactly an easy investment as already established online paperless money transfer system depend on a very stringent operating system to conduct payments. This means that transfer vendors require strong balance sheets, solid cyber security systems and a proven regulatory record if they are to even have a customer base that will trust their services. Banks have dominated the business to business payment arena for long and they would not cede the space without a fight. However, the idea behind blockchain B2B led to the partnership like posted above with banks opting to adopt the technology and provide the service.

The skepticism back then on real time payments was based off the fact that yes, a payment may be digitally executed in real time but there is no way a system could digitally move currency in real time, which is what blockchain B2B is based on. Not to mention the whole idea of blockchain is decentralized in nature, while the traditional system is transparent. Well, Visa has managed to pull off their program and made the announcement last week on Tuesday June 11th 2019, dubbed Visa B2B Connect Network.

Based on the announcement, the system is not entirely based on distributed ledger technology but it will significantly allow for more information regarding payments compared to traditional systems. At the moment, Visa is targeting corporate clients after which, gauged by the performance of the service, they plan to launch retail service as well. The company also hopes to extend the service to at least 90 countries by the end of the year although it’s not clear what their trajectory on adoption and incorporation is but we cannot wait now can we?

 

 

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