Jesse Lund, Head of Blockchain at IBM, was recently invited to speak on CNBC, where he praised the company’s new World Wire


Calling IBM the world leader in blockchain technology, he reinforced that the Stellar-based platform would revolutionize several aspects of banking and finance. He also stated that IBM has consistently innovated in an effort to add security and confidence to the blockchain industry over the past three years.

IBM: An ‘Infrastructure Facilitator’

On March 18, 2019, IBM announced the launch of IBM Blockchain World Wire — a payment settlement system built on top of Stellar’s open source blockchain infrastructure. The network uses blockchain technology and the Stellar protocol to provide shared distributed ledgers for atomic payment clearing and real-time payment settlement. World Wire supports 47 currencies in 72 countries and is in negotiations with more financial institutions that are looking to trial the blockchain-based payment system.

During the interview, Lund was asked if banks would now begin to see IBM as a rival after it developed the World Wire payment system. IBM’s Blockchain Head denied the possibility, stating that the company was merely a facilitator as a payment settlement platform. Its role is limited to building the requisite infrastructure. Lund said that banks are free to use the platform and complete transactions themselves.

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IBM has been building a foundation on top of which banks can continue to enhance their business and build new applications to improve customer experience. He also said that World Wire was built on the same standards as the traditional SWIFT global payment network.

A Threat to Ripple’s xRapid?

World Wire uses the US Dollar and Stellar Lumens (XLM) as the primary currencies for payment-related transactions. It is a network of global financial institutions where each act as a gateway.

Money, or value, in this case, flows in and out of the network through these gateways. As a result, no new infrastructure needs to be set up by banks. They can simply connect to IBM’s World Wire through the provided APIs and convert fiat currency into digital tokens. The two banks involved in a payment transfer can then agree on a stable coin, fiat currency, or digital asset to act as a bridge between the two fiat currencies being transferred. The blockchain-based payment settlement platform then converts the digital asset into a second currency and completes the payment.

Ripple Labs, on the other hand, is building xRapid as a highly efficient payment protocol for cross border payments. xRapid uses XRP coins for its own version of converting fiat currency to digital assets. IBM’s Blockchain World Wire could, therefore, be a direct competitor to Ripple’s xRapid platform.

Between World Wire and xRapid, which one do you think will see more adoption? Let us know in the comments below!