We've been saying it for some time and, although there have been some rumblings of impatience in the market, blockchain is very real and is happening – now!
The technology may be in its nascent stages but all over the financial world, blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) are gathering momentum.
Right now we’re a little excited at Earthport because one of the projects we’ve been working on has won some market recognition, in the form of the Efma/Accenture Global Distribution & Marketing Innovation Awards for retail banking. There’s a little reflected glory in this accolade; let me share this with you.
Santander UK, our client, won the award for innovation in payments and wallets for their DLT-enabled P2P wallet, which was powered by Earthport using Ripple technology. This is a significant prize, as 460 case studies were submitted across ten categories and the baubles were handed out to those firms that demonstrated innovation, industry impact and adaptability. I think all boxes were ticked by Santander UK’s wallet.
What’s also really important is that this success is the result of collaboration – another aspect of the way the world is headed and one that we’ve long championed – between Santander UK, Ripple and Earthport. If you want a clear illustration of the exciting symbiosis between banks and FinTech, the Santander UK international payments app is a great example.
So how will clients benefit from this partnership? The Santander UK international payments app allows the bank’s internal UK staff customers to access a quicker and more transparent way to move money from the UK to Europe and the United States.
It makes Santander UK the first bank to use blockchain to make faster and cheaper international payments. It’s currently in a pilot phase and it captures what we believe in at Earthport – innovative collaboration to change payments. It's a great a proof-point for our DLT offering.
We’ve long recognised there’s an urgent need for technology that improves upon the current system for money transfers that traditionally take several days to reach their destination.
In the old world, customers can never be sure exactly how much money will arrive in an overseas account, as various opaque fees are charged by banks. Santander UK, Ripple and ourselves all share the view that we need to make the customer’s payment journey as simple and easy as possible. The Santander UK international payments app already provides next-day money transfers that ensure their funds settle in full.
We should remember, though, that DLT is not just about payments; this is a fundamental infrastructure technology that has the potential to revolutionise so many areas of our lives.
The wheels are definitely rolling and I'm happy to say Earthport is playing its part in the evolution.