October 16, 2017 | Written by: Robert Bell
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Digital payments have fundamentally changed how many of us conduct our financial affairs, from day-to-day purchases to international transactions.
Consider the following scenario. From my home in London, I search online for present for a friend. I find the perfect gift; it’s from an American retailer, and once I enter my credit card information, the price of the item will be converted from American dollars to British pounds, and that amount will be reflected on my credit card statement, likely within a matter of minutes. I trust that the system will work, and I don’t think about it again until the gift I ordered shows up at my door.
How many times have you conducted a similar transaction? Or paid with a credit or debit card somewhere in your neighborhood? Over the years, we have assumed an inherent level of trust in digital transactions, and more and more of us are conducting our daily business digitally. In fact, according to a recent study, by the year 2020, people around the world are expected to make 726 billion transactions using digital payments technology.
In emerging markets, the number of digital payments grew at nearly three times the rate of that in mature markets in 2015. This is great news, as moving away from cash-only transactions opens up massive opportunities to trade and obtain credit. According to the World Bank, modernizing payment systems could result in bringing more than one billion people into the formal financial system by 2020.
However, people in developing countries are not yet realizing the full benefits of seamless digital transactions. In particular, international payments requiring conversions of currencies can be costly, labor intensive, and error-prone. That trust I had in the digital payment system when purchasing the gift for my friend and the nearly total lack of friction in the transaction has simply not reached all emerging markets.
Together with IBM and Stellar, though, KickEx is trying to change that by using blockchains. The IBM universal blockchain payments solution runs on the Hyperleder Fabric with the Stellar open-source blockchain network. KlickEx Group will serve as the founding financial institution for the region, servicing banks, retail clients and consumers.
One of the great features of blockchain technology is that trust is built into the fabric of each transaction. Parties in a network can see in real time the creation and progression of immutable records at each stage of a transaction. Our new blockchain system will simplify the way funds are exchanged around the world, reducing settlement times from days to seconds. It is already in use across 12 currency corridors in the Pacific Islands, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. It is the first use of a blockchain solution at an institutionally viable scale, and we are ready to expand its reach.
Our ability to easily and seamlessly transact with people around the world is something many of us in mature markets take for granted. Resources are available to us at the click of a mouse, and cross-border trade is handled quickly and efficiently. We expand our businesses beyond the reach of cash, selling and shipping to customers across borders and time zones.
Digital payments provide opportunities to grow. With blockchain technology, we are making sure that those opportunities are extended to more people around the globe.