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SWIFT Financial-Messaging System Pilots Blockchain Project
SWIFT, the messaging system used by financial institutions globally to convey instructions on tens of millions of transactions each day, is testing out blockchain.
Himanshu S.
11:44 13th Sep, 2022

The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT for short, is piloting a project with fintech company Symbiont Inc., according to a post seen by Bloomberg. The collaboration, which includes Citigroup Inc., Vanguard and Northern Trust, is aimed at driving “efficiencies in communicating significant corporate events,” like dividend payments and mergers, SWIFT said in its post.

As a global financial artery, SWIFT delivers secure messages among 11,000 companies in over 200 countries and territories, directing trillions of dollars in transactions. The operation gained much attention earlier this year as war broke out in Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. The US and Europe cut a number of Russian banks from SWIFT, hurting their efforts to move money and operate globally.

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With the latest pilot project, SWIFT will automate corporate action workflow using Symbiont’s technology platform called Assembly, it said in the post. SWIFT will use the platform’s smart contracts and blockchain capabilities to “create a network effect that leverages our 11,000 plus institutions connected to SWIFT globally,” it said.

Under the effort, corporate action data from SWIFT messages will be translated by SWIFT’s translator tool and uploaded in Symbiont’s blockchain. Symbiont’s smart contract technology will then compare information shared between participants, flagging “discrepancies, contradictions or inconsistencies across custodians,” Tom Zschach, chief innovation officer at SWIFT, said in the post.

“By bringing Symbiont’s Assembly and smart contracts together with SWIFT’s extensive network, we’re able to automatically harmonize data from multiple sources of a corporate action event,” Zschach said in the post. “This can lead to significant efficiencies.”

The pilot is in development and with a select group of participants that will test it and provide feedback in September. If it’s successful, SWIFT will extend it to cover more corporate events and assess bringing it to the wider SWIFT community.

SWIFT is overseen by the National Bank of Belgium and representatives from the US Federal Reserve System, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Japan and other major central banks. Symbiont, a US financial technology company, offers its blockchain technology to solve inefficiencies in the financial marketplace.


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