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Press release | Kantox joins the treasuryXL community as Premium Partner

28-07-2021 | treasuryXL | Kantox

treasuryXL announces partnership with Kantox to strengthen dissemination of the latest trends about currency management automation technology

VENLO, The Netherlands, July 28, 2021 – treasuryXL, the community platform for everyone who is active in the world of treasury, and Kantox, the global leader in currency management automation software, today announced the signature of a premium partnership.

This partnership will create a new content resource for the treasuryXL community. Treasurers will now have access to a regular stream of insightful and practical content on currency management automation. This partnership includes:

● Collaboration on messaging, content production, and visibility
● Mutual distribution on select items of interest
● Collaboration on larger themes: event promotion, speaking and experts contribution, publications

Through this partnership, treasuryXL and Kantox are striving to ensure that treasurers are always up to date with the latest news and events in their field.

About treasuryXL

treasuryXL started in 2016 as a community platform for everyone who is active in the world of treasury. Their extensive and highly qualified network consists of experienced and aspiring treasurers. treasuryXL keeps their network updated with daily news, events and the latest treasury vacancies.

treasuryXL brings the treasury function to a higher level, both for the inner circle: corporate treasurers, bankers & consultants, as well as others that might benefit: CFO’s, business owners, other people from the CFO Team and educators.

treasuryXL offers:

● professionals the chance to publish their expertise, opinions, success stories, distribute these and stimulate dialogue.
● a labour market platform by creating an overview of vacancies, events and treasury education.
● a variety of consultancy services in collaboration with qualified treasurers.
● a broad network of highly valued partners and experts.

About Kantox

Kantox is a leader in Currency Management Automation software that enables corporates to effectively manage their FX workflow and leverage currencies for growth. Since 2011, Kantox’s expertise and solutions have allowed businesses to collect FX exposure data and automate their hedging, pricing, payment and collection processes.

The company is headquartered in London and authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority (reference number 580343) and Kantox European Union, S.L. is based in Barcelona and authorised by the Bank of Spain (reference number 6890) For more information, visit www.kantox.com, @Kantox LinkedIn.

 

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E-Book: ERP Migration | How to Simplify and Accelerate Bank Integration

14-07-2021 | treasuryXL | Kyriba |

ERP cloud migration is a costly and time-consuming undertaking, particularly where IT is concerned – and for many corporations, the bank integration exercise can be among the most daunting aspects of the project.

The good news is that companies can simplify and accelerate the bank integration component of ERP migration, and reduce payment connectivity and format costs by up to 80%.

In this latest ebook, you will learn about the IT challenges involved in the bank integration element of ERP cloud migration, including:

  • Following banks’ schedules
  • Navigating geographical variations
  • SWIFT certification
  • Resourcing challenges

You’ll also find out how you can reduce the need for IT resources while minimizing costs, reducing complexity and accelerating the bank integration project.

Fill out this form to get your copy of the comprehensive eBook.

 

 

What are BIC/ SWIFT codes, how do you find them, and how do they work?

26-11-2020 | treasuryXL | XE |

Not sure where to find this key ingredient to an international money transfer? Our guide will let you know about SWIFT and BIC codes inside and out.

To send or receive money internationally, your bank or any other financial institution must know where to send the money – but how do they know? Make way, for this is where a BIC/ SWIFT code comes into the scene! If you’ve ever initiated a money transfer with Xe or read our guide to sending money, you might’ve seen that you’ll need a BIC or SWIFT code. But what is that, and where would you find it?

Starting from what a SWIFT/ BIC code is and why you need it to how you can find it easily and use it for transferring money globally, our guide will let you know everything about this code inside out. Ready, get set, go!

What is a BIC or SWIFT Code?

BIC stands for Bank Identifier Code, and SWIFT stands for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications. Sometimes, people use the terms “BIC” and “SWIFT” interchangeably. A SWIFT code or SWIFT ID typically identifies banks and other financial institutions worldwide, for international transactions. More specifically, it says who and where these institutions are, so that your money goes to the correct place – you might even think of it as a global identity card for banks.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) recognizes and approves SWIFT codes for financial and non-financial institutions. Right now, there are over 40,000 live SWIFT codes in the world.

What does a BIC/ SWIFT code look like?

SWIFT/ BIC codes contain 8-11 characters that identify your city, country, bank, and the branch of your bank. The code may look something like this: AAAABBCCXXX

All muddled up? Let’s get this BIC format straight:

  • AAAA: 4-letter bank code that’s usually a shortened version of your bank’s name.

  • BB: 2-letter country code that represents the country in which the bank’s located.

  • CC: 2-character location code, pointing to the place where the bank’s head office is situated. It’s made up of letters and numbers.

  • XXX: 3-digit branch code that specifies a particular branch of the bank, usually the bank’s headquarters. These last 3 digits are optional, though.

To help you understand better, we’ve listed out the BIC/ SWIFT codes for a few large banks from around the world:

  • Scotiabank (Canada): NOSCCATTXXX

  • Charles Schwab Bank (US): CSCHUS6SXXX

  • Bank of England: BKENGB2LXXX

  • State Bank of India: SBININBBXXX

Why do I need a BIC/ SWIFT code?

If you want to send money around the world, you’ll almost always need to use a SWIFT/ BIC code. That’s because money transfers technically don’t actually transfer money around the world. Banks securely transmit information to one another through the SWIFT system or their other channels, which lets them know where the money should come from (which account should be debited), and which account should be credited with the money. In short, without this code, your bank won’t know where exactly they should send your money to.

So, it’s important for a bank on one side of the world to find the right bank on the other side, when it comes to international wire transfers, even when you use an international money transfer app like Xe, you’ll have to enter the BIC/ SWIFT code of the recipient’s bank for wiring money to the recipient, because the money will travel from your bank account to your recipient’s bank account.

How do I find my SWIFT/ BIC code?

Don’t worry, you have a few options.

  • Check the bank statements

You can usually find your bank’s BIC/ SWIFT code in your bank account statements. If you’re using an online bank, log into your digital bank account to easily view your bank statement.

  • Check the bank’s official website

Visit the bank’s website and check their Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section, international wire transfers, and other related links for their BIC/ SWIFT code. If there’s a search feature on the website, enter “SWIFT code” in the search box.

  • Contact your bank

In case you still can’t find the BIC/ SWIFT code, reach out to your bank via live chat, phone, social media, or email.

How do I verify a SWIFT code?

When sending or receiving money, always cross-check the BIC/ SWIFT code and other details with the recipient or your bank before you or the sender sends the money.

But why should you cross-check it?

As a matter of fact, if you enter a SWIFT code that doesn’t exist, the bank should reverse the payment you’ve made, and return your money. They’ll be charging a specific fee for that, though, and it might take some time before you get your money back.

As soon as it hits you that you’ve entered the wrong code to send money internationally (uh-oh), get in touch with your bank right away. They may be able to cancel the transaction, so keep your fingers crossed.

You can avoid such a scenario if you make sure that the BIC/ SWIFT code has:

  • No typing mistakes

You might think entering a SWIFT code is the work of a moment. But when you finally type it, character by character, it might seem as long as a marathon. Since it’s easy to make a mistake while typing in the code, try to copy and paste the code whenever possible.

  • The correct format

Always stick to the format of the BIC/ SWIFT code that the recipient has given you. For example, don’t type the country code before entering the bank code. And remember, there shouldn’t be any spaces between the characters in the code.

How do I transfer money using a SWIFT code via money transfer apps (like Xe)?

Once you sign up on online money transfer apps like Xe, you need to link your bank account directly to the app. After that, you can send money straight to the recipient’s bank account through a wire transfer, no matter where in the world he or she may be. You’ll usually have to follow these steps for wiring money between banks via Xe:

  • Log in.

  • Confirm which currencies you’d want to exchange. You can use Xe’s free Currency Converter tool for a quick check on the mid-market rate.

  • Enter the amount you wish to send.

  • Enter the recipient’s name and address.

  • Enter the recipient’s bank details, including the BIC/ SWIFT code and the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) of his or her bank.

  • Choose your payment method and confirm the money transfer.

Is IBAN the same as SWIFT?

No, IBAN and SWIFT are 2 different codes, but both of these do the same job – sending or receiving money. Banks use SWIFT codes to identify bank branches for making international payments. On the other hand, IBAN codes specify individual bank accounts for both domestic and international payments.

  • Do I need an IBAN number or a SWIFT code?

It depends on the country to which you’re sending money. For example, banks in the US, Australia, and New Zealand don’t use IBAN numbers, but they use SWIFT codes for different banking services.  But if you’re wiring money to a country within the Eurozone, you’ll surely need a SWIFT/ BIC code along with an IBAN number.

Is a SWIFT/ BIC code the same as a sort code?

Nope, sort codes aren’t the same as SWIFT codes. Sort codes are 6-digit codes that help British and Irish banks to identify bank branches for domestic payments (payments within a country).

  • Do all banks use BIC/ SWIFT codes?

No, all financial institutions, especially some small banks and credit unions, don’t have SWIFT codes. Instead, these institutions contact banks that do have BIC/ SWIFT codes, and ask them to serve as intermediaries for wiring money. You might also come across some financial institutions that use SWIFT for only a certain number of their branches, and not all of them.

Is a SWIFT code the same for all branches?

It depends on the recipient’s bank. Some banks may have one BIC/ SWIFT code for all their branches, while others have unique SWIFT codes for each of their branches. Plus, since all the branches of a bank may or may not use the SWIFT network, the code usually specifies the bank’s head office or primary office. So, are you ready to make an international money transfer using a BIC/ SWIFT code? Download the Xe app or sign up today!

 

Get in touch with XE.com

About XE.com

XE can help safeguard your profit margins and improve cashflow through quantifying the FX risk you face and implementing unique strategies to mitigate it. XE Business Solutions provides a comprehensive range of currency services and products to help businesses access competitive rates with greater control.

Deciding when to make an international payment and at what rate can be critical. XE Business Solutions work with businesses to protect bottom-line from exchange rate fluctuations, while the currency experts and risk management specialists act as eyes and ears in the market to protect your profits from the world’s volatile currency markets.

Your company money is safe with XE, their NASDAQ listed parent company, Euronet Worldwide Inc., has a multi billion-dollar market capitalization, and an investment grade credit rating. With offices in the UK, Canada, Europe, APAC and North America they have a truly global coverage.

Are you curious to know more about XE?
Maurits Houthoff, senior business development manager at XE.com, is always in for a cup of coffee, mail or call to provide you detailed information.

 

 

Visit XE.com

Visit XE partner page

 

 

 

BELLIN Launches SWIFT g4C Product Offering

| 30-07-2019 | BELLIN |

BELLIN, a global leader in providing treasury software and services, has successfully integrated SWIFT gpi for Corporates (g4C) in its tm5 treasury management system and completed the pilot and Early Adopter phase. With the BELLIN SWIFT product offering extended, all BELLIN clients can now benefit from fast cross-border payments as well as tracking directly in the tm5 system.

tm5, BELLIN’s treasury management system, has supported SWIFT g4C technology since as early as April, making BELLIN the first of the TMS provider Early Adopters with a customer live on g4C. SWIFT has now officially launched gpi for Corporates, enabling all users of the BELLIN SWIFT Service to consider benefiting from transparency and traceability for cross-border payments. Corporates need their own SWIFT BIC to make use of the SWIFT g4C technology. They register their BIC with gpi for Corporates and connect financial institutions that offer g4C. Started Monday, June 24, 2019, the entire SWIFT community can register their BICs for the new SWIFT g4C technology.

SWIFT g4C from pilot to live

“All of us, our clients, BELLIN and SWIFT, are bound by the desire to advance corporate payments. This is why we have worked hard in a concerted effort to implement SWIFT g4C technology,” explains Karsten Kiefer, Product Manager SOLUTION MANAGEMENT at BELLIN. “With SWIFT g4C, corporates will benefit enormously from speed, transparency and comprehensive information with cross-border payment processing. The obvious advantages will make for an immediate success story.”

The BELLIN SWIFT Service enables BELLIN clients to receive their own BIC and to gain access to the SWIFT Network as a member of the Standard Corporate Environment (SCORE). BELLIN takes care of the BIC application, connects the company to the SWIFT Network and guides the client through onboarding and configuration. The BELLIN SWIFT Service has been part of BELLIN’s portfolio since 2013, making BELLIN the very first treasury management system provider with a service of this kind. Today, over 160 customers use the BELLIN SWIFT Service.

Interview with Karsten Kiefer on the SWIFT g4C integration in BELLIN’s treasury management system and the benefits for corporates

About BELLIN

BELLIN is the global leader in technology for corporate banking and treasury. We provide solutions for the financial sector, catering to a range of clients from large multinationals to SMEs and banks. Founded by a treasurer, BELLIN has been championing innovation and out-of-the-box thinking since 1998. With the treasury software tm5 as the centerpiece, BELLIN makes a fundamental difference by offering solutions that zero in on the relationship between corporates and banks and cover everything from payments to FX, cash and risk management. BELLIN is an international company with offices on four continents, powered by a trailblazing fintech spirit and yet firmly rooted in the heritage of German craftsmanship and engineering. BELLIN delights 500 clients and over 80,000 users around the globe.

Webinar: Optimize your payment processing security

| 13-6-2019 | BELLIN |

How to optimize your payment processing security via administrative control

This webinar installment takes a deep dive into the need for a centralized payments platform that maintains a hyper-focus on security. Join in as we discuss, how the essential synergy between technical security specifications and administrative controls creates optimally safe and efficient processes.

Webinar start: 27 June 2019 | 16:00 CEST
Webinar run time: approx. 20 min

Register here

Katja FranzPresenter
Katja Franz, Senior Treasury Consultant

A graduate of International Business at Fachhochschule Trier and European Business & language at National College of Ireland, Katja Franz has a background in treasury and cash management that has spanned the globe. With experience in banking and reconciliation at Hertz Europe, cash and credit administration at State Street Bank, as payment implementation specialist for Bankhaus August Lenz and as freelance consultant, she has brought success to projects across banking and treasury.

At BELLIN Katja has brought her experience and her passion to the BELLIN treasury consulting team, focusing on treasury management software, project management and process optimization. She is a keen team player who is committed to her work and always eager to learn something new.

About BELLIN

BELLIN is the global leader in technology for corporate banking and treasury. We provide solutions for the financial sector, catering to a range of clients from large multinationals to SMEs and banks. Founded by a treasurer, BELLIN has been championing innovation and out-of-the-box thinking since 1998. With the treasury software tm5 as the centerpiece, BELLIN makes a fundamental difference by offering solutions that zero in on the relationship between corporates and banks and cover everything from payments to FX, cash and risk management. BELLIN is an international company with offices on four continents, powered by a trailblazing fintech spirit and yet firmly rooted in the heritage of German craftsmanship and engineering. BELLIN delights 500 clients and over 80,000 users around the globe.

 

 

Blockchain and Stable Coins: opening the crypto markets?

| 20-05-2019 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

In my recent blog about IBM’s Blockchain World Wire I mentioned the use of Stable Coins as settlement instrument for global payment transactions. Not many are familiar with the term Stable Coins, because it is a relatively new type of cryptocurrency.

The Stable Coin market is however hotter than ever. In recent months, Stable Coins have seen remarkable growth in both size and variety. Today, with over 120 projects on the market, there is growing thinking that Stable Coins may trigger the mass adoption of cryptocurrency payments, thereby opening the crypto currency market. Facebook recently came with its WhatsApp Stable Coin. Even a traditional bank like JP Morgan has entered this market, with their own Stable Coin-like product named JPM Coin.

Why is there such a hype in talking about this phenomenon? And what are Stable Coins? How do they work and what should you know about it in terms of use cases, benefits and risks.

Why Stable Coins? 

But first of all: why Stable Coins? The cryptocurrency market such as for Bitcoin, Ether and others suffers from high volatility and unpredictable price fluctuations. They are struggling to maintain a decent valuation against the fiat. Last two years we have seen the market capitalization of the crypto reaching a high of almost 1 trillion USD before bouncing back to less than 200 billion USD. Most of the coins are down 80% from their all-time highs.

This volatile nature is one of greatest criticisms directed towards the crypto market. Because of this high volatility, Bitcoin and most cryptocurrencies are inconvenient for daily transactions. The demand for cryptocurrency is mainly fuelled by speculation and trading. Retail merchants on the other hand are sceptical of accepting the crypto as a medium for financial transactions. 

There is however a growing desire to bring stability to the cryptocurrency market. The  current market sentiment is turning more towards less price-volatile options. It is thus not surprising  that interest in Stable Coins is on the rise.

“Unlike cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, which are highly volatile, stable coins provide people with the pragmatic, helpful benefits of a cryptocurrency, without having to worry about distressing price changes since they are grounded in the real world.” Brigitte Luginbühl, CEO of SwissRealCoin

What are Stable Coins? 

A Stable Coin is a cryptocurrency with all its intrinsic functionality, but does not suffer from the vulnerabilities of market fluctuations and price volatilities. They fall into the category of payment tokens, whose main purposes are store of value, medium of exchange, or unit of account. Like other cryptocurrencies, Stable Coins aim to become global, fiat-free money that is programmatically issued and tracked with the use of blockchain technology.

A Stable Coin refers to a class of  cryptocurrencies that is pegged to a tangible, or stable, asset such as fiat money (which is specifically USD) or precious metal (which is generally gold). The idea of backing a cryptocurrency with a tangible asset is to reduce the price volatility associated with standard cryptocurrency. Since the Stable Coin is correlated to the gold or fiat, its valuation is fixed in relation to that underlying asset.

In theory, this makes Stable Coins ideal and usable as a store of value and a basic medium of exchange. They provide cryptocurrency traders and investors with an easy and simple way to keep value without losing to price swings. In doing so, digital coins may become far more practical for everyday use, and it may encourage global adoption.

Models of Stable Coins

To “get rid” of the volatility of the cryptocurrency market, different variations of Stable Coins have been introduced. Thereby a number of alternative types have emerged, backed by a multiplicity of assets, ranging from baskets of cryptocurrencies to physical assets. Most Stable Coins fall into one of the following models: fiat-collateralized, asset-based, crypto-collateralized, or algorithmic.

A. Fiat-collaterised

Fiat-collaterised Stable Coins are the most popular form of Stable Coins. They are fully backed i.e. on a 1:1 ratio by existing fiat currencies in real bank accounts such as the USD that is held in reserve by the Stable Coins’ issuers. The coins represent a claim on the underlying fiat currency.

How do they work?
Stable Coin working is quite simple. They are backed by a company or a central entity. This company or central entity manage the acceptance of new fiat and issues a corresponding amount of the fiat backed tokens. The issuing company holds assets in a bank account or vault (or works with a third party provider that does so on their behalf.  The company or the central entity is the custodian of the fiat reserves, and it backs all the tokens.

A degree of trust in the central entity is created by third-party audits – validating that fiat reserves are kept equal to the token supply. If the holder wishes to redeem cash with his tokens, the company or central entity will wire transfer the fiat money to the holder’s bank account and the equivalent coins will be destroyed or taken out of circulation.

Pros and cons
Stable Coins have a fiat backed structure and their operations and working are simple to understand. Since these are backed by a stable fiat currency, there is not much fluctuation in the prices.

But, these fiat-based Stable Coins are issued by centralized entities with their own governance protocols and, in the case of full custody integration, can be vulnerable  to fraud activities. This is very much against the concept of decentralized crypto. Additionally, not all fiat currencies are stable, as the fiat that underlies them, may not be stable itself.

Examples
Most known examples of fiat money-backed Stable Coins are dollar-based including Tether (USDT), TrueUSD (TUSD), USDCoin (USDC) and Gemini Dollar (GUSD).

 B. Asset-based

Asset-based Stable Coins are backed by some type of commodities. The most common commodity which is collateralized is gold. Gold backed Stable Coin represents a specific value of gold. The physical gold in itself is stored in a trusted third party’s vault.

How do they work?
Asset-based Stable Coins work similarly in cases where the coin is backed by fiat money (see above).

Pros and cons
As these Stable Coins are backed by real assets they provide stability. In a way, the commodity has been tokenized. This brings greater liquidity and price discovery. The coin holder has the advantage of recoursing to the underlying asset. They can redeem these assets at the conversion rate to take possession of the real assets.

Just as in fiat money backed Stable Coins, they are governed by centralised entities. So some of the very concepts of crypto and digital currencies are defeated in this type of stable coin. The holder is dependent on the vendors and custodians. This can result in a single point of failure at some time. This system is also dependent on the audit and assessment by the third party, underscoring the purpose of cryptocurrency.

Examples
Examples of commodity-backed Stable Coins are Digix gold (DGX) and Petro Coin. DGX is dependent on the market value of gold and is fully redeemable at any point in time.  The ownership/custodianship status is tracked on the Ethereum     Blockchain. Petro Coin is a Stable Coin backed by the oil reserves of Venezuela.

C. Crypto-collateralised

Crypto-collateralized Stable Coins are backed by a mix or basket of other digital currencies like Bitcoin or Ether.

How it works
Crypto backed Stable Coins require holders to stake a certain amount of cryptocurrencies into a smart contract which will then result in the creation of a fixed ration of Stable Coins.

In this type of coins, the volatility risk of a single cryptocurrency is reduced and distributed in a group of cryptocurrencies. The Stable Coins are over-collateralized to withstand the extreme price fluctuations.

Pros and cons
The benefit of this method is that it is decentralized and as a result adhere to the trustless, transparency and secure structure of the crypto world. Therefore they are not vulnerable to a central point of failure.

Crypto backed coins are considered transparent because transactions are recorded on the public blockchain with full transparency and accountability. They are efficient in the sense that conversion from one crypto to another is quick as it occurs on the blockchain.

On the other hand they are volatile and complex. Since the underlying asset is a cryptocurrency itself, it is inherently much more volatile as compared to other types of Stable Coins. Also, there are multiple complex elements which can trouble the minting process of these stable coins.

Examples
The most prominent example of crypto backed Stable Coins is Dai. DAI does not rely on any central entity and lives on the blockchain. Its  face value is pegged to the USD. It achieves stability by using an autonomous system of smart contracts.

 D. Algorithmic (or Seignorage) Stable Coins

The most complex and less popular model are algorithmic Stable Coins. These Coins are not backed by collateral at all. Instead, they use various mechanisms to expand or contract their circulating supply as necessary to maintain a stable value.

Algorithmic Stable Coins are based on smart contracts (and other mathematical -based algorithms) where people put up collateral in a cryptocurrency (like Ethereum). This to back the value of a Stable Coin pegged to a fiat currency. With this method, there is no need for know your customer (KYC) measures to be put in place because there is no need for a counterparty to maintain reserves or redeem money from.

How it works
These types of Stable Coins maintain stability using an algorithm. This means that the Stable Coins are not actually backed by real-world assets. Instead, trust in the system is reliant on the expectation that the coins will gain a certain amount of future value (similar to Bitcoin).

These models are generally created with two tokens: the first is a Stable Coin, and the second is related to a bond, thus promising income if the Stable Coin rises in price. By purchasing the bond with the Stable Coin, supply is decreased. As the total demand for the coin increases, a new supply of stable coins are created to reduce price back to stable levels. The main objective is to keep the coin’s price as close as possible to USD 1.

Pros and cons
The advantages of these type of Stable Coin are that they are decentralized, they have an absence of collaterals and lastly, they are kept at stable prices.

On the other hand, these are the most innovative of Stable Coins but also the most complex and thus difficult to create these successfully.

Examples
Basis (formerly known as Basecoin) is an example of this type of Stable Coins. Basis is pegged to the value of USD through algorithmic adjustments of the coin supply. Prices are monitored using the Oracle system.

Use cases for Stable Coins

Stable Coins promise many of the same benefits as other cryptocurrencies – like cheap transactions and rapid settlement – without the price volatility typically found in the crypto markets. Through that combination, Stable Coins could satisfy the demand for high-quality fiat currencies in parts of the world with limited access to the global financial system.

Various use cases have been proposed for Stable Coins, including mobile app payments, alternative currencies in emerging markets and global payment systems. Currently, the most common use of Stable Coins is for crypto traders to move between investment positions seamlessly and create leveraged positions, without added volatility.

Stable Coins also could be useful for crypto exchanges that want to offer fiat-based trading pairs while reducing their engagement with legacy financial institutions. Another interesting use case, is one of coupon and dividend payments in the up and coming digital securities space. This may enable to receive coupon payments in real time via a Stable Coin directly into a smartphone’s digital wallet.

Benefits of Stable Coins

Just like any other cryptocurrency, Stable Coins may offer both benefits and risks  connected to each alternative governance and price-stability models. The main goal that Stable Coins strive to create is an optimal currency in terms of  price stability, scalability, privacy, decentralization and redeem ability.

Unlike Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, Stable Coins are more immune to price fluctuations because they are pegged to tangible and more stable assets, like the US dollar (USD).

“An optimal cryptocurrency should have the following four traits: price stability, scalability, privacy, and decentralization.” “Short-term stability is important for transactions and long-term stability is important for holding.” Forbes

“Stable coins are one of the keys to bringing the benefits of cryptocurrencies to everyday people, both in terms of price stability and decentralization of capital.” Rafael Cosman, founder and CEO of TrustToken,

These benefits give it a better chance of mass adoption, compared to existing crypto currencies. This will be especially relevant for people living in countries with unstable monetary systems, where residents are often exposed to hyper inflation and uncertainty.

Stable Coins development could also be of help for the general population in economic and/or political uncertain countries. If the fiat money is converted into Stable Coins it will ensure that the value of money is preserved.

The adoption of Stable Coins may also  support capital market formation and can be used in new applications for decentralised finance on the blockchain. These include lending and derivatives markets because without borders and volatility, it becomes easier to lend money.

Traders and investors can change between cryptocurrencies, without being exposed to  asset volatility. Stable Coins enable traders to keep value stable against a fiat currency, usually the dollar, while they’re in-between trades.

Finally Stable Coins may help in reducing the risk of high price movements. They can be used in the cryptocurrency market as a hedge against bitcoin and other top cryptocurrencies.

 Main risks of using Stable Coins

There are however a number of bottlenecks that could limit the adoption of Stable Coins. First of all, there is the counter-party risk. By trusting a third-party keeping a cryptocurrency stable, the dollars or other fiat currencies could be fractionally reserved instead of fully backed. In this case, a bank run could cause the price of the coin to drop dramatically.

There is also the centralisation risk. Centralisation risks mean the same monetary issues that fiat-currencies face when a central authority has the power to print money without oversight. Accounts can be subject of misappropriation, being blocked, or accessed by unauthorised third parties.

In the case of algorithmic based Stable Coins there is the risk of algorithm manipulations. As most decentralised Stable Coins are embedded  within smart contracts, there is a risk the algorithm which keeps the currency stable fails. Algorithms could even be manipulated by a third-party.

Stable Coins and Regulation

Thus far, Stable Coins have largely been got attention from regulatory agencies. There hasn’t been much discussion in the crypto industry about how U.S. securities and commodities laws might apply to Stable Coins. But also in Europe Stable Coins has got less scrutiny from a regulatory point-of-view up till no. But that may change.

As Stable Coins are seeing greater industry adoption, the US SEC and CFTC will likely take a harder look at their compliance status. But the main question is: how will those Stable Coins be characterised?

Given how dollar-backed Stable Coins are redeemed, the SEC might characterize them as “demand notes,” which are traditionally defined as two-party negotiable instruments obligating a debtor to pay the noteholder at any time upon request. Demand notes are presumed to be securities.

For its part, the CFTC might take the position that Stable Coins are “swaps” under Commodity Exchange Act Section. Under that definition, the CFTC might characterize Stable Coins as options for the purchase of, or based on the value of, fiat currencies.

If Stable Coins are classified as regulated securities or swaps, there could be serious consequences for a large segment of the crypto industry. For example, Stable Coin issuers might have to register their offerings and comply with all the ensuing regulatory requirements. Similarly, a company or fund that conducts or facilitates Stable Coin transactions might have to register as a broker-dealer.

The SEC and CFTC aren’t the only regulators that may take an interest in Stable Coins. Only time will tell how other regulators worldwide will approach the regulation of Stable Coins, particularly if they’re used to avoid trade sanctions or other transaction reporting obligations.

 Asia ripe for Stable Coins

Stable Coins are looking to become a more attractive crypto solution, particularly in the Asia  Region. And that for various reasons.

According to a recent report by Remitscope, more than 50 percent of remittance flows worldwide could be attributed to countries from the Asia Region. Current traditional money transfers however are far from instantaneous or frictionless and often result in the end customer paying unnecessary transaction costs.

With interest growing, a Stable Coin with a well-developed user experience built into the remittance solution would greatly appeal to these markets. In Asia’s emerging markets, the technology’s application in the remittance sector is especially promising. Stable Coins via blockchain technology can improve the speed and stability of these transfers—particularly in countries where financial infrastructure is still in development.

Asian countries are well placed to adopt Stable Coins. It is encouraging that cryptocurrency ATM usage has grown and more cryptocurrency ATMs means improved access to Stable Coins, which will only help the ecosystem mature and evolve for the better.

It is also very likely that we will see more non-USD Stable Coins being tailor-made for Asia. The emergence of more non-USD Stable Coins will signal that the market is maturing further and ready for the benefits of Stable Coins globally.

The regulatory environment, without overt regulatory guidance in jurisdictions,  in the Asia Region is particularly favourable to encourage such innovation.

 What is needed to drive adoption?

To drive Stable Coin adoption, further development is needed in both cryptocurrency exchanges and various cryptocurrency services.

First, making it easy to digitally deposit and withdraw fiat currencies into and out of exchanges remains a huge hurdle to widespread adoption of cryptocurrency as the process is slow and transactions can take a long time or, if they are fast, involve expensive fees.

There is also still a need to solve issues surrounding settlement and velocity in fiat deposits and withdrawals into exchanges. Top exchanges generally take weeks to process transactions and this often leads to increased customer service tickets.

Another issue is the margins on cash to cryptocurrency exchanges. These are very high, sitting at 7-10 percent globally. Not only is it expensive to transact and exchange cryptocurrencies on exchanges, but it is also less convenient when needing to withdraw cash. That is why there is a premium on cryptocurrency ATMs.

Cross-border payments and converting cryptocurrency to cash should be made more convenient for users across the world. Stable Coins could reduce friction when sending money between counterparties as its often quicker, cheaper, and far more convenient.

To improve the user experience, money transfer companies should be encouraged to start integrating cash to crypto features in their respective locations. Overall, consumers will benefit the most from this increase in competition with more options in providers and more locations to conduct their exchanges locally.

In the long term, with more Stable Coins from various other currencies being made available, exchanges could become more liquid, enabling greater efficiency in the crypto ecosystem. Risks for companies dealing with cryptocurrency to fiat gateways will also be reduced as they no longer need to worry about banking relationships and can instead just focus on maintaining a cryptocurrency wallet.

Forward Looking

Stable Coins may have a great potential. The total addressable market for Stable Coins is essentially all of the money in the world, or approximately $90 trillion. Stable Coins are a crucial element in the world of cryptocurrencies, as they can bring stability. They may pave the way for wider acceptance and real potential for global adoption..

The technology is however still relatively young and will continually evolve, but it is clear that demand is there. Before full adoption is reached, Stable Coin developers will need to address the various concerns still in the market. The key is to create the optimal cryptocurrency including features such as price stability, decentralization, scalability, and privacy.

“Stable coins will ultimately give people enough confidence to start using cryptocurrencies for daily transactions.” “Stable coins are trying to strike the balance of not being dependent on a central bank, while also securing price stability”. Brigitte Luginbühl, CEO of SwissRealCoin

Ultimately, decentralised Stable Coins may pave the way for a new and modern  financial infrastructure  that will remove inefficiencies, reduce risk stemming from centralised parties and change the way we transact.

For Stable Coins to be accepted as a viable alternative to fiat currencies, however, they must first intersect and integrate into our current financial infrastructure.

 

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

Webinar: How to streamline your banking landscape

| 14-5-2019 | BELLIN |

The expert guide on how to streamline your banking landscape with the perfect combination of banks, channels and formats

This webinar sheds light on the complexity of diverse bank connectivity options for each corporation. What channel or combination of channels are you going to use to connect to your banking partners in a process- and cost-efficient way? Will you capitalize on host-to-host connections or will you be taking advantage of SWIFT, get your own BIC code and become bank-agnostic? Find out about various options and multiple ways of combining them to eventually configure the custom-tailored payment setup that perfectly suits your treasury’s needs.

Webinar start: 6 June 2019 | 16:00 CEST
Webinar run time: approx. 20 min

Register here

Presenter
Anton Wahl, Senior Treasury Consultant

Anton Wahl is Senior Treasury Consultant and Payments Specialist at BELLIN and in charge of various projects. He has extensive experience with international SWIFT, H2H and EBICS payment implementation projects. Anton joined the BELLIN team in 2008 and first worked for the Service & Support Team before changing to Consulting & Implementation in 2015. He is a certified SWIFT Specialist for Corporates and obtained the designation Certified Payment Professional from Frankfurt School of Finance.

About BELLIN

BELLIN is the global leader in technology for corporate banking and treasury. We provide solutions for the financial sector, catering to a range of clients from large multinationals to SMEs and banks. Founded by a treasurer, BELLIN has been championing innovation and out-of-the-box thinking since 1998. With the treasury software tm5 as the centerpiece, BELLIN makes a fundamental difference by offering solutions that zero in on the relationship between corporates and banks and cover everything from payments to FX, cash and risk management. BELLIN is an international company with offices on four continents, powered by a trailblazing fintech spirit and yet firmly rooted in the heritage of German craftsmanship and engineering. BELLIN delights 500 clients and over 80,000 users around the globe.

 

 

Corda Settler, Ripple and SWIFT: mariage à trois?

| 07-05-2019 | Carlo de Meijer | treasuryXL

My last blog was about the IBM World Wire, a blockchain based platform for global payments. Another competitor in the blockchain payments world I have written about regularly is Ripple. Both are thereby targeting centralised payments messages network SWIFT.

IBM and Ripple however are not the only players in the blockchain payments world. Late last year R3 launched its new Corda Settler platform using Ripple’s XRP. But here it comes. In January SWIFT announced a partnership with R3 were they are collaborating to test Corda Settler, specifically to “integrate gpi with Corda Settler.” However, as Corda Settler depends on the XRP token, the partnership puts SWIFT and Ripple, the two rivals in an indirect connection. Will that result in a love triangle or even a “marriage a trois”? And could that work?

But first: What is Corda Settler?

In December last year, R3 announced the launch of Corda Settler. Corda Settler is designed in such a way to give companies a new fast, secure and reliable way to move crypto and traditional assets on a distributed ledger. The Corda Settler app is an open-source decentralized application (DApp), that runs on the Corda blockchain. It is aimed to facilitate global (crypto) payments across enterprise blockchain networks with Ripple’s XRP as its base currency. Corda Settler thereby focuses on the settlement of payments transactions between crypto and traditional assets within enterprise blockchains.

Corda Settler uses XRP

Both Corda and Ripple are open-source blockchain platforms with a focus on serving enterprise businesses. Therefore, it makes sense that Corda selected XRP, the globally recognized cryptocurrency, as the first and only supported cryptocurrency for settlement on the platform.

“The deployment of the Corda Settler and its support for XRP as the first settlement mechanism is an important step in showing how the powerful ecosystems cultivated by two of the world’s most influential crypto and blockchain communities can work together.” “While the Settler will be open to all forms of crypto and traditional assets, this demonstration with XRP is the next logical step in showing how widespread acceptance and use of digital assets to transfer value and make payments can be achieved.” Richard Gendal Brown, CTO at R3

While Ripple’s XRP is the first cryptocurrency supported by the Corda Settler, in the future it is very likely that R3 will make settlement in other cryptocurrencies possible.

“The Corda Settler is agnostic to which payment method is used. Whether it’s JP Morgan coin, or Wells Fargo coin, or BAML coin, or HSBC coin, it doesn’t matter to us. We have no horse in that race.” “We don’t have any financial incentives one way or another. We’re just trying to get as many people onto our platform as possible.”David Rutter, CEO of R3

How does Corda Settler work?

The platform is still in its first stages of development. Corda Settler supports payments of all sorts to be settled through “any parallel rail supporting cryptocurrencies or other crypto assets”. Also any traditional rail capable of providing cryptographic proof of settlement can settle payments obligations. In the next phase of development, the Settler will also support domestic deferred net settlement and real-time gross settlement payments.

In its current phase, when a payment obligation arises on the Corda blockchain during the course of business, any of the parties involved now have the option to request settlement using XRP. The other party can be notified that settlement in XRP has been requested and that they must instruct a payment to the required address before the specified deadline presented to them.

After they make the payment, an oracle service will ensure the validity of the payment and settle the obligation. Uniquely, the Corda Settler will verify that the beneficiary’s account was credited with the expected payment, automatically updating the Corda ledger.

What does Corda Settler mean for the parties involved?

It is clear that in the transaction initiated by Corda Settler, the receiving party doesn’t need to use Corda to receive the payment. At the same time, it is not mandatory for the sending party to use XRP or any other cryptocurrency.

This means that using the Corda Settler; one can send XRP or dollar and the receiver can accept the payment in an entirely different currency. “Settlement Oracle” will broadcast the actual settlement notification. It can be operated through different entities like exchanges, banks, and others.

It will thus allow banks and other financial institutions to build their blockchain networks with minimum overheads. They don’t need to integrate the R3 technology fully. All they need is to let their clients receive deposits via Corda-enabled services.

SWIFT partnership with Corda

End January SWIFT has announced its partnership with R3’s Corda Settler to launch a proof-of-concept (PoC). The trial would see the interaction of SWIFT’s payments standard framework GPI (Global Payments Innovation) with R3’s trade finance platform.

Following the recent launch of our Corda Settler, allowing for the payment of obligations raised on the Corda platform, it was a logical extension to plug into SWIFT gpi. SWIFT gpi has rapidly become the new standard to settle payments right across the world. All the blockchain applications running on Corda will thus benefit from the fast, secure and transparent settlement provided through the SWIFT gpi banks.” David E. Rutter, CEO of R3

Global Payments Innovation (GPI)

This trial will integrate SWIFT’s GPI Link cross border payments gateway with R3’s Corda Settler platform to enable the continuous monitoring and control of payment flows, settle GPI payments through their bank, and receive credit information.

SWIFT’s GPI is a messaging system based on existing messaging standards and bank payment processing systems. It has rapidly become the new standard to settle payments right across the world. The integration will also support application programming interfaces (APIs), as well as SWIFT and ISO standards to ensure global integration and interoperability.

It aims to provide quick and cost-effective transfers between SWIFT members. Through GPI “SWIFT hopes to assist banks enhance their relevance within the fast-evolving international payments ecosystem – by delivering immediate value to SWIFT’s members’ customers”.

Goal of the SWIFT-Corda Settler PoC

The objective of the PoC-trial is to try out interlinking of trade and e-commerce platforms with GPI – SWIFT’s new standard for cross-border payments and is an extension of other SWIFT trials with blockchaintechnology. These platforms need global, fast, secure and transparent settlement, preferably using fiat currencies.

With the gpi Link, banks will be able to provide rapid, transparent settlement services to e-commerce and trading platforms, opening up whole new ecosystems to the speed, security, ubiquity and transparency of gpi and enabling them to grow and prosper in the new digital economy. Given the adoption of the Corda platform by trade ecosystems, it was a natural choice to run this proof of concept with R3.” Luc Meurant, SWIFT’s Chief Marketing Officer

“SWIFT GPI will integrate directly to Corda Settler, the application that allows participants on the Corda blockchain to initiate and settle payment obligations via both traditional and blockchain-based rails. This will enable obligations created or represented on Corda to be settled via the large and growing SWIFT GPI network”.R3 co-founder Todd McDonald

While SWIFT is keen to experiment with the possibilities opened up by blockchain-based trades, they are much less enthusiastic about using cryptocurrencies such as XRP.

Objective

The SWIFT and R3 Corda Settler trial will enable corporates to authorise payments from their banks via a GPI link to their bank through the Corda Settler platform. GPI payments will be settled by the corporates’ banks, and the resulting credit confirmations will be reported back to the respective trade platforms via GPI Link on completion.

By enabling trade platform ecosystems using Corda to integrate ‘GPI Link’ into their trade environments, SWIFT hopes to extend its reach beyond member banks to include to a wider range of corporates and markets.

The first stage of the PoC will work with R3’s Corda blockchain platform, Corda. SWIFT says it will not limit ‘GPI Link’ to R3’s DLT-based trade environment. SWIFT has plans, if the Corda PoC is successful, to extend the trial to other DLT, non-DLT and e-commerce trade platforms. The results of the PoC will be demonstrated – as a prototype – at Sibos in London in September 2019.

Corda Settler: Fiat currencies versus XRP

Swift said it is not (yet) using XRP on Corda Settler!. And that for a number of reasons.

“All trade platforms require tight linkages with trusted, fast and secure cross-border payments mechanisms such as GPI. While DLT-enabled trade is taking off, there is still little appetite for settlement in cryptocurrencies and a pressing need for fast and safe settlement in fiat currencies”. Luc Meurant, SWIFT’s chief marketing officer

According to SWIFT CEO Leibbrandt banks simply are not prepared to use a cryptocurrency as a clearing unit due to its price volatility. It appears that most banks prefer to use Corda’s technology for rapid and transparent settlement services in fiat currency rather than cryptocurrencies. Most enterprises prefer to settle via traditional payment mechanisms, albeit wishing for greater visibility into what is happening to payments and receipts. This leads to the need for trade platforms to have fast and safe settlement in fiat currencies.

“I think that the big part of Ripple’s value proposition is the cryptocurrency XRP. There we do find the banks are hesitant to convert things into a cryptocurrency right now because of the volatility in the currencies.” Leibbrandt, SWIFT CEO

Another reason why SWIFT is hesitant (not willing) to use crypto currencies is because the legal status of XRP and other cryptocurrencies remains unclear due to the current uncertain regulatory environment. Risk averse financial institutions are unlikely to adopt cryptocurrencies until regulations become clearer.

Ripple’s CEO Garlinghouse however argues back that “with SWIFT payments taking days and XRP payments clearing within seconds, SWIFT transfers are actually subject to much greater volatility due to fluctuating foreign currency rates”. At present, the banks take on that volatility risk by guaranteeing the amount sent will match the amount received. Because of XRP’s speed, which executes transactions in a matter of seconds, Ripple says it ‘eclipses’ volatility risk. With near-instant XRP-backed transfers, that volatility risk is actually completed eliminated.

“I hear people talk about volatility and I feel like they’re propagating this misinformation. Mathematically, there’s less volatility risk in an XRP transaction than there is in a fiat transaction.” Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO

Garlinghouse countered SWIFT’s legal arguments saying that every XRP transaction is vetted for Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) compliance. Finally, Garlinghouse added that XRP payments greatly reduce systemic risks to banks in smaller economies, which have to use large amounts of money to prefund international transfers.

Mariage à trois?

With the launch of a universal settler app for payments on the Corda blockchain platform, using XRP as its first crypto payment trail, this may bring the Corda and XRP ecosystems into closer alignment.

Now SWIFT has partnered with blockchain consortium R3, we are in the strange position wherein SWIFT will be possibly be trailing Ripple XRP-powered payments. Through its experimental integration with R3, SWIFT may be indirectly integrating with XRP, though Leibbrandt has no desire to work with XRP directly.

It is still to be seen whether SWIFT will move beyond the proof of concept stage. But that might change. The future of SWIFT and Ripple’s relationship will not lay in the hands of present CEO Leibbrandt, as he will be stepping down as SWIFT CEO in June. His successor may be more receptive for the new world.

It is still speculative  that the proof of concept — or a future trial — could see SWIFT being more interested in cryptocurrency settlement. On the other hand Ripple will do its utmost by leveraging its relationship with R3 to convince (SWIFT-related) banks to take the dive into cryptocurrency via the Corda Settler platform.

For now, the complex links between SWIFT, Ripple, and R3 are sure to trigger continued debate about the future of global finance.

Read the full article here

 

 

Carlo de Meijer

Economist and researcher

 

Grensoverschrijdend betalingsverkeer is (eindelijk!) aan het verbeteren

| 20-03-2018 | Bas Kolenburg |

In mijn vroegere rol als Corporate Treasurer waren grensoverschrijdende betalingen, zowel binnenkomend van een klant of uitgaand naar een leverancier, een regelmatige bron van ergernis:

  • Het is een langzaam en weinig voorspelbaar proces dat meerdere dagen in beslag kan nemen en over vele schijven verloopt met correspondentbanken etc. ;
  • Het is een erg duur proces;
  • Je kan maar moeilijk interveniëren als het proces eenmaal is opgestart;
  • Het proces is weinig transparant wat betreft doorlooptijd en er is geen bevestiging dat het bedrag op de juiste bestemming is aangekomen.

De afgelopen jaren zijn er in het internationale betalingsverkeer veel vernieuwingen geweest. Deze veranderingen hadden echter vooral betrekking op het SEPA-gebied. Met de introductie van SEPA is het onderscheid tussen een betaling binnen Nederland of binnen het SEPA gebied, mits in Euro, vrijwel verdwenen. Bovendien is valuteren niet meer aan de orde en dienen banken betalingen snel op de rekening van de begunstigde bij te schrijven. Maar als we kijken naar betalingen in andere muntsoorten dan de Euro of betalingen buiten het SEPA gebied dan zijn de verschillen erg groot. Daar tariferen en valuteren banken de transacties nog wel degelijk.

Daarom is er vanuit SWIFT een initiatief gestart dat moet zorgen voor een inhaalslag om ook grensoverschrijdend betalingsverkeer naar een hoger level te brengen: het Global Payments Initiative (SWIFT GPI).

SWIFT GPI streeft ernaar (uiteindelijk) alle hiervoor genoemde ergernissen in het betalingsverkeer op te heffen/te verminderen, om te beginnen met de volgende kenmerken in fase 1 (dat inmiddels sinds januari 2017 live is):

1. Snellere – same day- verwerking van de betaling.
Waarbij dus geen valutering meer wordt toegepast.
2. Transparantie van kosten.
Dus duidelijkheid over alle ingehouden kosten door banken in het gehele proces
3. Transparantie van het proces via tracking en tracing.
Door het toevoegen van uniek E2E (end-to-end) tracking nummer aan de betaling is er de mogelijkheid om een betaling van begin tot eind te volgen en te zien waar de betaling zich bevindt. Een betaler krijgt ook een bevestiging wanneer het geld op de rekening van de begunstigde is bijgeschreven. Hierbij blijft de omschrijving die de klant de betaler aan zijn opdracht meegeeft intact, dus zijn er geen aanpassingen van de tekst in de keten.

De voordelen van dit initiatief voor de Corporate Treasurers zijn talrijk:

• Minder settlement tijd van de inkomende en uitgaande betalingen;
• Betere en meer betrouwbare cash flow management;
• Meer inzicht in de kosten die worden gerekend voor grensoverschrijdende betalingen;
• Minder FX risico;
• Zekerheid voor betalers en ontvangers.

Op dit moment zijn al circa 150 banken wereldwijd aangehaakt bij dit initiatief en de verwachting is dat de meeste banken vanwege de klantbehoefte, zich snel willen gaan aansluiten. Daarbij geldt wel dat banken zelf aan kunnen geven in welke muntsoorten ze deze dienstverlening gaan ondersteunen.

In fase 2 (die is gepland voor 2018), zal SWIFT GPI nog meer functionaliteiten toevoegen:
1. De mogelijkheid om een betaling direct te stoppen
En dat ongeacht waar in het proces de betaling zich bevindt, bijvoorbeeld in geval van fraude of een dubbele betaling.
2. Het bijvoegen van documenten met betalingen
Documenten zoals bijvoorbeeld facturen en compliance documenten kunnen dan worden bijgevoegd en hoeven dan niet meer (zoals nu) via e-mail en andere handmatige acties naar elkaar te worden doorgestuurd.
3. Het invoeren van een “payment assistant”

Hiermee moeten bedrijven geholpen worden om alle gegevens die nodig zijn voor een grensoverschrijdende betaling nog beter aan te leveren zodat een transactie snel en efficiënt door de keten gaat. Bij Nederlandse banken zit in de huidige applicaties overigens al veel features die afdwingen dat klanten de opdrachten zo volledig mogelijk aanleveren.

In een volgende fase wil SWIFT GPI ook nieuwe technologieën, zoals Blockchain, verkennen waarbij uiteindelijk het doel is om de kosten voor de grensoverschrijdende betalingen verdergaand te reduceren.

Al met al is dit een erg positief initiatief van SWIFT om het grensoverschrijdend betalingsverkeer (eindelijk) naar de 21e eeuw te brengen. Nu is het zaak ervoor te zorgen dat zo veel als mogelijk banken zich hierbij aansluiten want als de bank van je tegenpartij niet aan dit initiatief meedoet blijven grensoverschrijdende betalingen een bron van ergernis.

 

 

Bas Kolenburg

Senior Consultant at Enigma Consulting