The Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), a publicly-listed banking corporation headquartered in Singapore will begin inter-bank payments powered by blockchain technology in Southeast Asia.
The announcement, revealed by regional publication FintechNews Singapore, follows a successful duo of pilot payment transactions conducted between the bank and a regional and an international banking partner.
The pilot utilized a blockchain platform jointly developed by OCBC Bank and BCSIS, a local payments startup in Singapore. Two blockchain pilot payment transactions were revealed. First, a local funds-transfer between OCBC Bank and its private banking arm, Bank of Singapore. Next, a cross-border funds transfer between OCBC Bank Singapore and OCBC Malaysia.
Commenting on the milestone, Sopnendu Mohanty, Fintech chief at Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) – Singapore’s central bank and financial regulator – stated:
MAS and the financial industry have worked hard over the past two years to build a thriving FinTech ecosystem in Singapore. OCBC’s initiative demonstrates the vibrancy of our banks in applying innovative technology to complex business problems like cross-border payments.
The successful pilot transactions, the bank adds, mean that payments can now be more secure and faster, with lower costs due to the lack of intermediaries, obsolete in the face of bitcoin’s underlying innovation.
Furthermore, an international transaction between OCBC banking accounts in Singapore and Malaysia, would typically take up to a day to settle, despite being the same bank across borders. Powered by blockchain technology, a cross-border funds transfer will now be completed “in less than 5 minutes,” the bank revealed.
Ricky Lim, managing director of technology provider BCSIS added:
This blockchain solution will not only enable banks to inter-operate seamlessly across their own network, but also with other banks. We will continue to leverage emerging technologies and work with the banks to create superior payment experiences for customers.
Singapore, already a technology-forward nation, is arguably the Fintech hub for startups, international expansions, and development of blockchain tech in Asia. The likes of IBM and New York-based startup R3 have already established blockchain-exclusive labs in the country. Meanwhile, the MAS is also pushing ahead with its support for blockchain development, recently partnering the Indian and South Korean governments in developing and leveraging the technology for real-world solutions in the public sector.
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