Visa is planning to launch the commercial version of its blockchain-based B2B Connect Platform in the first quarter of 2019. The company has been working in partnership with Chain.Inc since 2016 to develop this blockchain-based platform that facilitates cross-border business payments between organizations especially banks, and has now partnered with IBM in order to integrate the Hyperledger Fabric and extend the functionality of this platform.
The platform, which is currently at the piloting stage, facilitates the transfer of funds across the border from the bank of origin to the receiver at the beneficiary bank. It operates as a "digital identity" platform that tokenizes highly sensitive data including account numbers and banking details using a unique identifier to facilitate faster transactions susceptible to less fraud. It helps to reduce fraud that might be found with checks, ACH and wire transfers today while facilitating transactions and deals in a regulated business climate.
It runs on an internal Visa network instead of the correspondent banking system and therefore largely benefits for payments in verticals such as supply chain, trade, and institutional banking. In other words, corporate clients can use the platform to pay their vendors cross-border and be paid by their customers.
Only participating banks or their technology partners can also carry out cross-currency transactions in a simple, fast and secure manner. The platform also provides APIs that banks and other users can integrate into their system to take full advantage of the platform. For instance, banks can use these APIs to onboard customers, set-up eligible suppliers, check Visa B2B Connect foreign exchange rates and submit payments.
It provides the benefits of near-real transaction and notification and finality of payment. The Payment API lets banks to originate payment on behalf of its enrolled customers to one of the customer's enrolled suppliers. The bank can also search for Visa B2B Connect payments that are made by or received by its enrolled companies and even check the exchange rate for currency pairs or check current and historical rates. Thus it will compete with the many blockchain-based cross border platforms although it does not use digital currencies.
The blockchain platform, which is available for use by any company around the world, is currently being piloted or used by a number of banks including Union bank and other four banks in the Philippines according to a previous report by blocklive.io and a Thailand bank called Kasikorn bank.
The new partnership, which will give the bank the right to use and integrate the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain code in the Visa's core assets, will help the company to add functionality to the platform including scaling as a permissioned network.