Westpac joins global blockchain trial


Westpac will follow in the wake of ANZ to become the second Australian ‘Big Four’ to join Swift’s blockchain validation test program, the global payments messaging service announced. 

Westpac joins 21 other banks from around the world, in addition to the six foundational institutions, in Swift’s blockchain proof of concept (PoC) test.

According to Swift, the test will determine whether distributed ledger technology (DLT) can facilitate real-time cross-border payments.

“The PoC aims to help banks overcome significant challenges in monitoring and managing their international nostro accounts, which are crucial to the facilitation of cross-border payments,” Swift said in a statement.

The 22 additional banks will work independently of the original group of six, of which ANZ is a foundational member, acting as a separate validation group throughout the trial.

“This new group of banks allows us to greatly extend the scope of multi-lateral testing of the blockchain application, and thus add considerable weight to the findings,” said Wim Raymaekers, Head of Banking Markets and SWIFT global payments innovation (GPI) at SWIFT. “We warmly welcome the new banks and look forward to their insights.”

The group of 22 will test the application and evaluate DLT’s capacity to scale and reconcile international nostro accounts in real-time.

Currently, banks cannot monitor their account positions in real-time due to lack of intraday reporting coverage.

“Real-time visibility of nostro reconciliation is another leap forward in efficiency for correspondent banking, as we endeavour to improve the customer experience in cross-border payments,” said Di Challenor, Westpac’s General Manager of Global Transaction Services.

Among the 22 institutions to join the trial include multinationals ABN AMRO Bank, Banco Santander, China Construction Bank, China Minsheng Banking, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Rabobank, Société Générale, Standard Chartered Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and UniCredit.