From sharing customer data to smart payments, a number of central banks around the world are turning to blockchain technology to make markets easier for new entrants and to improve processes in everything from payments to regulatory authorizations.
In Argentina, the country’s central bank has embarked upon a pilot project with IOV Labs, which has developed a blockchain-based network that will support a new payments system. The network leverages RSK Bitcoin smart contract technology to improve banks’ ability to process payments, collections, as well as conduct other activities.
A few miles to the north, Brazil’s central bank – the BCB – has launched a blockchain data-sharing platform called PIER that runs on the Quorum blockchain developed by JP Morgan. PIER was created to make it easier for foreign banks to open offices and do business in the country. Specifically, the solution will accelerate communication between the BCB, Brazil’s security commission, and the country’s insurance authority. The platform will also speed up the process of granting banking licenses.
Meanwhile in Central and Eastern Europe, a Polish-British fintech has teamed up with Poland’s Credit Bureau (BIK) to put blockchain to use in customer communications. Billon reported last week that its distributed ledger technology (DLT) is giving retail banks in Poland the ability to transition away from paper-based, client-facing notifications, while remaining compliant with relevant regulations ranging from MiFID II to GDPR.
Poland’s BIK is a major repository of credit history and data, with information on 147 million accounts, 25 million individuals, and 1.4 million companies, including 840,000 microbusinesses. The BIK Blockchain Platform will enable the bureau’s banking clients to notify customers on commission and fee changes on a blockchain rather than e-mail, internal banking communication, or paper delivery. In addition to providing for more secure data exchange that these methods, the DLT-based document management solution gives customers “authentic and immutable documentation” that cannot be altered.
BIK CEO Mariusz Cholewa said that further version of the technology will be applied to “streamlining complex multi-party processes” as well as expanding into other verticals in Poland.
Here is our weekly look at fintech around the world.
Latin America and the Caribbean
- Calypso Technology announces partnership agreement with Colombian financial services firm Sophos Solutions.
- Brazil’s central bank launches data-sharing blockchain platform to make it easier for banks based overseas to do business in the country.
- Blockchain-based smart payments could be coming to Argentina thanks to a partnership between the country’s central bank and bitcoin company IOV Labs.
- Digital currency pilots in China continue with initiatives in cities such as Shenzhen, Suzhou, and Chengdu.
- Japan’s Mizuho Bank trials facial biometric authentication for online banking.
- Fomo Pay, a digital payments company from Singapore, goes live in Malaysia courtesy of a partnership with OCBC Bank.
- Social payments app Bundle goes live in Nigeria.
- South African finech Yoco launches suite of online payment solutions for SMEs.
- Tigo Tanzania introduces new service to enable its customers to send and receive cash on their mobile money wallet using the region’s main mobile money services.
Central and Eastern Europe
- TransferWise brings its money transfer innovations for banks to Berlin-based Mambu.
- Meniga partners with UniCredit to launch a new smart banking app in the Czech Republic.
- Retail banks in Poland gain access to blockchain-based customer data platform developed as a collaboration between the Polish Credit Bureau and Polish-British fintech company, Billon.
Middle East and Northern Africa
- Libya’s Jumhouria Bank, the nation’s largest bank, goes live with cash payment reconciliation technology from SmartStream.
- TransferWise launches in the UAE.
- Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) now accepting applications for its summer sandbox.
Central and Southern Asia
- Facebook announces investment of $5.7 billion in Indian online marketplace Jio Platforms.
- Federal Bank launches mobile ATM service in two India cities, Chennai and Mumbai.
- Pakistan’s Bank Alfalah partners with PayFast to enable online payments.