SWIFT GPI, Ripple XRP & IBM Stellar


The telegraph was not a competitor to the telephone, similarly SWIFT isn't a competitor to IBM Blockchain World Wire and Ripple. These are fundamentally different services built on different technologies.

Created in 1974, SWIFT is the world's traditional international transaction system but at the heart, it is just a messaging platform that banks use to send money. As payments get bounced between banks along the SWIFT network, each takes a cut of the money as a part of its fee. But the half-a-century old international payment network that was once revolutionary, has now become more synonymous with high fees, opacity and unnecessary inefficiencies. Clearly, SWIFT is trying to eliminate inborn problems by ‘forcefully’ deploying SWIFT GPI.

GPI is basically a set of rules set to ensure banks behave more reasonably on cross border payments, supported by Payment Tracking (to entertain the payment originators which banks white label for their clients) and data to monitor adherence to these new rules which are encapsulated in the SLA. To support this SLA, they have built observer.  

Ripple is a services provider and XRP is the technology, just like IBM is the service provider and Stellar is the technology. Both have fine points in their favour. The most notable is the scope of IBM as it supplies hardware and software to several financial institutions. Thus making it plug & play by nature. However, Ripple confirms that this process takes no more than a few seconds in which rich information exchange will increase payment certainty and reduce reconciliation issues.

There are four key stages to look at from a treasury perspective:  
a. Get Quote: The originating bank sends out a request for quotation across the Ripple network for the payment in question. Quotes received in reply include FX rates and fees as well as compliance requirements. 
b. Accept Quote: The originating bank accepts the best quote for which they can meet the compliance requirements. The beneficiary bank can then lock the quote. At this point Ripple blocks funds in the two banks’ ledgers (without transfer of title at this point). 
c. Submit Sending Payment: The originating bank transfers the funds out of the payer’s account and through inter ledger protocol (ILP) to the beneficiary bank. 
d. Submit Receiving Payment: The beneficiary bank confirms that funds have been credited to the beneficiary’s account. The Submit Receiving Payment signifies that funds have been credited to the beneficiary’s account. 

IBM Blockchain World Wire (BWW) on the other hand is pretty straight forward on the front end regarding this. 
    • Financial Institutions connect their existing payments system to BWW’s API.  
    • The sender sets up the remitting & beneficiary currency, then chooses the digital asset likely to be used as an intermediary. 
    • On initiation, system will convert remitting currency into the chosen digital asset and then into bene currency. All done in seconds and recorded on blockchain. 



    The main benefit for IBM will be the Stellar DEX (decentralised exchange) & automated matching system, which can be used to build an efficient pathway for a payment. While using XRP for fiat transfers, there needs to be cryptocurrency exchange on both the ends to convert the XRP to and from fiat. This can become a headache and limit the scope of Ripple. 

    IBM Stellar have just joined the battle of global payments and they definitely are a powerful challenger to both Swift & Ripple. 
    Of course, SWIFT still holds the advantage of being the largest network with 11000 banks & Ripple has a wide range of partnerships. It's soon to say one will be more successful than other.