Wells Fargo to Pilot DLT-Based Cross-Border Settlement Platform

In a Sept. 17 press release, Wells Fargo described a DLT-based platform designed to perform internal book transfers of international payments within its global network using digitized cash. The company claimed that it has already successfully tested the concept of money transfers between the United States and Canada.

American financial services company Wells Fargo & Company is planning to launch a pilot of a distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based internal settlement service in 2020.

Achievement of nearly real-time money transactions

The impetus for the idea was the realization of nearly real-time money transactions with no impact on the underlying account, transaction postings and reconcilement infrastructure with cross-border transactions. DLT will also ostensibly help the company to eliminate the need for third parties and cut transfer time and transaction costs.

Lisa Frazier, head of the Innovation Group at Wells Fargo, said that the company has seen increased demand for further reduction of friction regarding traditional borders, with DLT being able to aid in the issue. Frazier stated:

“We believe DLT holds promise for a variety of use cases, and we’re energized to take this significant step in applying the technology to banking in a material and scalable way. Wells Fargo Digital Cash has the potential to enable Wells Fargo to remove barriers to real-time financial interactions across multiple accounts in multiple marketplaces around the world.”

Transformative power of blockchain

The news comes just a day after a Bank for International Settlements economist Raphael Auer made the case for so-called embedded supervision, which would automatically monitor tokenized markets. Auer argued that DLT and smart contracts can facilitate the development of financial markets through new forms of transparency and data credibility, and eventually exclude middleman-based data verification.

Earlier in September, information technology service management giant Gartner predicted blockchain’s transformative power for most industries within 10 years. Per Gartner, nearly 18% of banking and investment services CIOs say that they have adopted or plan to employ some form of blockchain technology within the next 12 months. Another 15% plan to do so in the next two years.

WeBank Ranks Third in Blockchain Patent Filings For 2019

China-based digital bank, WeBank, rose to third place for number of Blockchain patents filed globally in 2019. Alibaba and Tencent took the first and second places respectively.

According to the report published on April 24, the digital bank has climbed from fifth place to third after filing nearly 632 patents in 2019. 80% of them were related to technologies like blockchain, AI, cloud computing, and big data.

Blockchain patent categories

WeBank’s patents have focused on open source consortium chain infrastructure (48%), middleware (40%), and other solutions (12%) related to algorithms, privacy protection, and cross-chain tech.

The patents filed by WeBank show that the banking industry is increasing its fintech capabilities, rather than building a guarded fortress around existing infrastructures, according to the report.

In 2019, WeBank announced a new open-source fintech strategy that aims to collaborate with developers across the globe.

This includes Federated AI Technology Enabler, or FATE, FISCO BCOS, which is a consortium chain platform built together with FISCO open-source task force team, and open-source big data platform suite, WeDataSphere.

Open-source projects underway

On April 16, Cointelegraph reported that WeBank was exploring the integration of the DAML smart contract language for its consortium blockchain, FISCO BCO, which is the chain that will undergird China’s national Blockchain-based Service Network.

The digital bank said that it would help to deliver pioneering blockchain solutions across finance, supply chain, and other sectors worldwide.


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