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Santander Launches International Transfers Using Blockchain

Santander has broken new ground by offering an international payment system that leverages the blockchain. Called ‘Santander One Pay FX‘, this service uses a system similar to Ripple to fast-track international money transfers. Instead of waiting several days for a transfer to complete, customers can now expect their transfers to be finished within the same day or at most the next day.

In a statement, Ana Botín, the Santander chief executive, said

Blockchain technology offers tremendous opportunities to improve the services we offer our customers, and the launch of ‘Santander One Pay FX‘ is the first of many potential applications. Transfers to Europe can be made on the same day and we are aiming to deliver instant transfers across several markets by the summer

The development of the services was prompted by Botín seeing her son use a service that allowed for quick money transfers to Spain. The bank then commissioned a project to look at improving speed of transfers and after two years of research and development, the bank had a robust system in place. Now, customers in the UK, Brazil, Poland and Spain will be able to use this service.

Santander Will Continue To Experiment With Blockchain

Botín has said that this is not the end of development for the blockchain project. The company hopes to add more countries and currencies to the service and hopes to do this before the end of the summer. Santander also hopes to expand the service to small businesses and to release an app to make the service more accessible. As of now the service is only available to those with Santander debit cards that are registered on Apple Pay.

The system will use distributed ledger technology to allow users to see how much money the receiver will get before the transaction is processed. This cuts out the middleman in the process, which greatly speeds up transfer time and gets rid of the transfer fees. This is not the first time that Santander has experimented with blockchain technology. It tested Ripple technology back in 2016 with a similar international payments app.

This move by Santander is another sign of how traditional banking institutions have experimented with blockchain technology. With the rising competition provided by fintech companies, most banks are struggling to catch up. Santander has been ahead of the curve in
this regard, since its InnoVentures venture capital fund has a stake in various blockchain ventures and even technologies such as Ripple.

Despite the progress though, many banking groups are still skeptical. Swift, the backbone of today's global money transfer system which handles half of today's international payments, believes that further development is needed before blockchain technology becomes fully mainstream.

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