Blockchain podcast

Episode 2: Making cross-border payments seamless

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How the collaboration with Stellar is bringing payments to the financial world

Welcome to the second episode of IBM Blockchain Pulse — the podcast that explores different blockchain use cases with leaders in the space!

In this week’s episode, your host, Matt Hooper, is joined by two leaders — Jesse Lund and Jed McCaleb — to discuss cross-border payments. Their conversation today is all about financial transactions — making them frictionless, seamless, and available for everyone.

Jed McCaleb is the co-founder and CTO of — a platform that connects banks, payment systems, and people. Their goal is to make money move around the world the way information does, post-internet. Jesse Lund is the Head of Blockchain Solutions for Financial Services at IBM. Currently, he and his team are trying to commercialize all the good that Jed is doing with Stellar by helping bring commercial and cross-border payments to the world using the Stellar protocol.

Let’s clear and settle cross-border payments in seconds — not days

Today’s interview is incredibly illuminating. They discuss the origin of the collaboration between Stellar and IBM, what they’re currently working on together, their goals and plans for 2019 and beyond, their thoughts on public vs. private blockchain networks, and much, much more.

Key takeaways

[:01] About today’s episode!

[2:52] Jed and Jesse introduce themselves and explain what each of them does in the space.

[4:08] Jed’s background and motivation to creating Stellar.

[5:58] The commercialization that Jesse and his team are working on.

[8:08] How Stellar is defining their protocol.

[9:44] When will decentralized application layers (DApps) take off?

[12:00] As someone who started a .org, did Jed think that one day he’d be facing this sort of customer base that is so commercially-focused on the opportunities for blockchain?

[14:45] How did this collaboration between IBM and Stellar come about?

[18:52] What was the white space that Jesse and Jed saw with regard to cross-border transactions that allowed it to be the first use case to test?

[22:02] Jed’s experience working with IBM and how he has found the collaboration between the two.

[24:13] Jesse’s theoretical pitch to entrepreneurs (like Stellar) to work with IBM.

[26:50] Stellar’s role in economic advantages and incentivization for those who might otherwise be left out of the system as it stands made possible by the power of blockchain.

[28:06] Check out IBM Blockchain World Wire to learn more about World Wire and what Jesse and Jed are talking about on today’s episode!

[29:15] The web and its many applications have allowed for a handful of companies to become some of the most powerful ones out there when it comes to controlling people’s digital identities and the way information works. Some would argue that this means that the internet has not lived up to its original promise of being inclusive for everyone. As Jesse and Jed are building new platforms, tools, and applications, is the current situation of the web and the world something they think about and design for?

[33:23] Jed explains what happened in Q4 2018 with the creation of Interstellar.

[34:33] What excites Jed and Jesse in this collaboration, some of the great results they’ve seen this past year, and the latest news about JPMorgan Chase.

[37:00] Is there a need for banks in the next few years? What will a bank look like in 10 years?

[39:33] What does 2019 look like for the collaboration between Stellar and IBM — both technically and philosophically?

[41:15] Jed gives his take on the public/private network shift with blockchain in the corporate space.

[42:55] The exciting news IBM has planned for 2019: the launch of the World Wire network!

[44:05] Matt thanks Jed and Jesse for joining him this podcast!

Sources mentioned

IBM Blockchain World Wire
Decentralized Application (DApp)
Apple Pay Cash
JPMorgan Announces USD Stable Coin

Follow-up with our guests

Jesse Lund
Jed McCaleb’s Profile on Stellar

Looking for More Episodes?

Visit IBM Blockchain — and for news and updates, follow @IBMBlockchain on Twitter!

Tweetables – For social media

“[The decentralization of blockchain] allows you to really reduce a ton of friction that’s in the financial system today and really bring economic participation to lots of players and level the playing field.” — Jed McCaleb

“One of the reasons [Stellar] is a .org is because we want to be this neutral entity where people can build on top of us.” — Jed McCaleb

“What [Stellar] really does, is it levels the playing field. It benefits everyone — [especially] the people that were the most disenfranchised before.” — Jed McCaleb

“That’s really what the IBM blockchain group is all about … it’s about taking these great ideas and open source software and building commercial capability on top of it.” — Jesse Lund

“This technology can take financial services further and farther than it has ever gone before; into the world where there are billions of people that don’t have access to banks.” — Jesse Lund

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