Since 2016, Visa has been working on its distributed ledger platform for business payments called Visa B2B Connect. It plans to launch the system next year. Visa has just announced a new partnership with IBM to integrate Hyperledger Fabric with “Visa core assets”. The card company has been working on the project with blockchain firm Chain.com which was recently acquired by Interstellar, a for-profit business set up to promote Stellar. In turn, Stellar has a relationship with IBM.
Neither Chain nor Interstellar was mentioned in the announcement, and as yet no response to inquiries has been received from Visa. However, the company statement portrayed partnerships with IBM and Bottomline Technologies as “additional functionality”. Hence it implies that the Interstellar relationship is ongoing. Visa was also an investor in Chain.
The B2B Connect system aims to offer an alternative to the correspondent banking system. Instead, payments are remitted between banks across the Visa network. They envisage using the new system for payments in verticals such as supply chain, trade, and institutional banking.
B2B connect creates a digital identity token for organizations that includes banking information.
“B2B Connect’s digital identity greatly reduces the opportunity for fraud that might otherwise exist with checks, ACH and wire transfers today, while also helping companies remain compliant as part of the regulated financial ecosystem,” said Kevin Phalen, global head, Visa Business Solutions.
Visa and IBM have been working together for 40 years. VISA envisions both companies enabling their mutual financial institutional clients to leverage the network. IBM provides hosting to 92% of the world’s top 100 banks and is involved in $7.7 trillion in annual credit card payments.
Last year the companies announced a partnership for Internet of Things ( IoT) payments. They share a vision for embedded payments such as a car automatically paying for gas.
“When industry leaders in payments and in financial services technology work together using open source technology, the entire business landscape stands to benefit,” said Jason Kelley, general manager, IBM Blockchain Services.
Additionally, Visa announced that Bottomline Technologies plans to integrate the B2B Connect platform with its own. The NASDAQ listed company provides a business payment service and has relationships with 1,200 financial institutions.