Insight & Analysis

Press release: Standard Bank gears up for ‘go live’ of payments blockchain

Published: Mar 2019

28th February 2019 – Standard Bank of South Africa is preparing for the go-live of a private permissioned blockchain payment system for conducting overseas foreign exchange trades on behalf of corporate clients.

Slated to move into live production in the second half of the year and built on the hyperledger fabric, the cloud-based system will initially cover Standard Bank and Stanbic Bank partner banks, clients and third parties directly involved in trades, and interbank network Swift.

“We have also decided to include our foreign currency trading app, Shyft, which provides access to a host of payment distribution partners and e-commerce platforms,” says Richard de Roos, head of foreign exchange for Standard Bank.

Standard Bank is also working with global banking partner, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), enabling the South African bank to extend this private permission-based ecosystem into China.

The network is conceived on a hub and spoke basis, “where the hub is Standard Bank and its 20 franchises across Africa working with ICBC to extend the hub into Asia, and the spokes are the various payment rails, like Swift and Sshyft,” explains de Roos.

When the system goes live, it is expected to significantly increase the straight-through processing of international trades. It will also speed up foreign exchange payments and settlement while making transactions more transparent, “providing an independent and much safer cloud-hosted record of all documents and steps, instantly available in real time to all parties involved,” says de Roos.

The aim is to capture the majority of trades that typically fail in the first mile of foreign exchange payments and settlement, then simply hand the transaction over to the Swift gpi network for fulfillment.

Says de Roos: “We could actually offer clients a fully integrated end-to-end block chain solution that would dramatically reduce the incidence of trade failure while also increasing regulatory transparency and improving the visibility of liquidity.”

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