Wells Fargo is turning to blockchain to speed up cross-border money transfers for its corporate clients. The bank is using the technology to create a money transfer service it’s branding as Wells Fargo Digital Cash. The technology is still in its nascent stages, but Wells Fargo wants corporate clients to use the system to transfer money around the world instantaneously.
The bank is aiming to create a seamless experience, according to Lisa Frazier, head of Wells Fargo’s innovation group. “From a customer point of view, you don’t do anything different than you do today,” said Frazier. “Today, the network is a combination of intermediaries, banks, correspondent banks and SWIFT.”
For now, Wells Fargo Digital Cash is a tool strictly for the bank’s corporate clients to send money internally to different departments in different countries. Using the tool, corporate customers will be able to carry out real-time money settlement and will be able to send money within longer operating windows. According to Frazier, corporate customers currently can only send money within a nine-hour window, five days a week. With Wells Fargo Digital Cash, that increases to 20 hours, five days a week.
Wells Fargo emphasized that the feature is still in an early development stage. The bank completed a proof of concept, and the pilot is expected to launch in 2020. Frazier didn’t disclose how many companies participated in the proof of concept or how many are expected to participate in the pilot. Although Wells Fargo’s goal is for corporate clients to instantly send money internationally and settle in different currencies, companies in the pilot will start by transferring in U.S. dollars between the U.S. and Canada.
Wells Fargo, which has $1.9 trillion in assets, isn’t the only bank turning to blockchain to enable faster money movement. Medici Bank, MUFG, Banco Bradesco and credit unions are testing the technology.
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