Blockchain Remittance: The Future of International Money

In this article, we look at the World Bank blockchain initiative and the rising popularity of blockchain bonds. Even though this is a relatively new concept, banks and governments of all sizes are beginning to issue blockchain-based bonds and minibonds. Let’s examine these use cases and try to understand how these changes might impact the future of government fundraising.

Why Blockchain Bonds?

The first general government bonds were issued in the Netherlands in 1517. Since that time, this form of fundraising has played an integral role in public sector fundraising around the world. Traditional government bonds have served as a link between governments and citizens. Bonds of the past have usually been denominated in a given country’s own fiat currency. This, however, has already begun to change with the advent of blockchain bonds.

There are a number of reasons governments at all levels might want to use blockchain bonds over traditional bonds. For instance, utilizing blockchains can eliminate the need for third-party firms and financial institutions. In other words, blockchain technology has the potential to directly connect issuers (governments) and recipients (citizens). Now, let’s examine some relevant case studies.

World Bank Blockchain Bonds

In August 2018, The World Bank announced its plans to launch the world’s first blockchain bond. However, cryptocurrency will not be used as a form of payment. This is likely due to the fact that there isn’t a widely adopted, government-issued digital currency yet in existence.

Unfortunately, most of these options are regarded as Ponzi schemes. Therefore, fiat currency will be used. On August 10, 2018, the World Bank designated the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) as the sole arranger for a two-year bond. The organization aims to raise 50 million $AUD (the equivalent of $36 million).

Paul Snaith, manager of the World Bank’s Treasury Operations Capital Markets, has said that the institution is partnering with Microsoft in order to meet the technical demands necessary to create their software and platform. While World Bank blockchain bonds offer a promising step forward for investors, it’s important to note that anyone who purchases a bond will still follow the traditional path.

For instance, each individual purchaser still has to go through an official registration process. In addition, all cash will be transmitted separately from the blockchain through normal bond channels.

World Bank Blockchain

BNP Paribas Minibonds

The World Bank blockchain effort to become the first global issuer of blockchain bonds is quite an accomplishment, but it isn’t the only large financial institution working on such an initiative. BNP Paribas, France’s largest bank and the 8th largest bank in the world, also has a similar program in the works. In 2016, this bank started building and testing a blockchain platform to allow private companies to issue minibonds.

BNP Paribas Securities Services, the bank’s custody arm, is actively developing a solution that can maintain records of all minibond issuances as well as ownership changes. The bank also partnered with three French companies to further its eventual goal of real-world implementation. These included two renewable energy companies as well as an investment platform called SmartAngels, which worked on creating the first pilot platform.

According to a February 2018 article, Johann Palychata, head of blockchain at BNP Paribas Securities Services’ digital transformation department, said that more improvements are needed to integrate blockchain with existing market practices and stakeholders. Palychata also cited the need for regulatory changes to make widespread adoption a reality.

There haven’t been many updates regarding the possibility of BNP Paribas’ real-world implementation of blockchain minibonds. Nonetheless, BNP Paribas is also bringing blockchain innovation to other areas of finance like asset management. In January 2018, BNP Paribas Asset Management announced that it had utilized BNP Paribas Securities Services’ blockchain technology to conduct the successful trial of blockchain-based fund distribution in Luxembourg.

BNP Paribas Blockchain Bonds

Berkeley, California: First Blockchain Bond Municipality?

When it comes to bond issuance, most people likely first think of either international institutions like The World Bank or large banks like BNP Paribas. But local governments also have the authority and ability to issue bonds. Now, local and state governments across the globe are starting to implement a variety of blockchain solutions.

In May 2018, the city council of Berkeley, California voted to move forward on a project that would make it the first municipality to offer blockchain bonds. What makes this initiative interesting is the fact that it would lower the investment threshold for all investors. Typically, the minimum investment for municipal bonds is $5,000. In contrast, Berkeley’s program would allow people to buy bonds for much smaller amounts (i.e. $10 or $25) to support community projects.

This concept is similar to how cryptocurrency projects have reduced or even eliminated the minimum amount of funds required to participate in ICOs. Additionally, the city plans to issue the bonds in dollars. There is also the possibility that the city could create its own token, offering citizens two currency options.

Berkeley’s Vice Mayor Ben Bartlett told Bloomberg that circumventing Wall Street is one of the city’s motivating factors. If this initiative is successful, it could set a model where governments are no longer dependent on the services offered by traditional debt capital markets. For the city of Berkely, some possible initiatives include a muni-bond backed ICO for affordable housing. The city has already partnered up with a tech startup called Neighborly to make this vision a reality.

Berkeley University

Trends and Takeaways

Blockchain bonds and minibonds can change the future of bond financing. Governments and banks haven’t been quick to utilize cryptocurrencies in bond issuance or payments, but this could be a possibility in the future.

It’s yet to be determined whether governments and financial institutions are firmly in the “blockchain but not bitcoin” camp. Regardless if fiat or crypto is used, blockchain bonds create another potential use case for decentralized technologies. Most importantly, they represent a big step forward for the adoption of blockchain technology.


This article by Delton Rhodes was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

Delton Rhodes:

I enjoy researching new, innovative, and interesting blockchain/crypto projects that have the potential to impact the world. Whenever I’m not writing, I’m usually playing sports or producing music.

Blockchain Remittance

Blockchain remittance firms are experiencing record growth thanks to an increase in global migration. As populations continue to migrate, the need to send money back to their home countries is growing. Blockchain remittance firms are providing this essential service at a reduced rate.

These international payments are vital to the livelihood of millions of people around the world. They’re primarily used for living expenses such as food, transportation, and education. Making these statements more tangible, East Asian countries received $129 billion in remittance payments last year according to the World Bank.

Remittance Stats

A recent study revealed that the remittance sector has grown to a staggering $585 billion industry. In 2017 alone, $439 billion was sent to developing countries, equating to around 700 million families living off of remittance payments globally.

Remittance payments have also become the main source of foreign income for many nations. According to a May report in Forbes, Mexico’s remittance payments have now superseded their oil industry to become the country’s main source of foreign income.

Mexico isn’t alone in their dependence on remittance payments. The World Bank released their 2016 remittance statistics in April of this year. The report revealed that remittance payments are now more stable than private capital flow in terms of international growth. This means that the remittance industry could be a smart investment in most parts of the world.

The High Costs of Sending Remittance Payments

Sending money internationally isn’t cheap, and non-profits such as the World Bank have been combating these high fees for years. Since 2008, remittance fees have declined 7.32 percent. This decrease saved migrants $90 billion in fees over the same time frame.

Whenever someone sends money internationally, numerous third-party organizations are involved in the transaction. Each verification step adds a small fee to the total cost. In addition, international conversion rates must be accounted for. World Bank reports have averaged these costs to be around 7.45 percent of each transaction processed.

Blockchain Remittance Fintech: Technology to Help Millions

Blockchain remittance companies are taking the industry to the next level by facilitating a frictionless experience for users. Traditionally, international money transfers can take days to complete due to the number of verifications that are required. Blockchain remittance companies provide instant money transfer services.

Remittance Firms: Abra

Africa relies heavily on remittance payments. Until recently, large financial firms, such as Western Union and MoneyGram, dominated the market. This changed when blockchain remittance companies began to spring up across the continent. Firms such as Abra are now changing the local markets.

The Abra platform allows users to transfer money for free across the globe. In addition to these cost savings, users are able to send transactions directly from their mobile devices. Abra offers a direct peer-to-peer money transfer technology that doesn’t require the use of any bank. And, the platform automatically deposits funds onto debit cards that it provides for users.

Remittance Payments via Abra

Abra is pioneering remittance FinTech with this all-inclusive approach. This non-reliance on the traditional banking system is important in developing nations because they often lack the means to implement the expensive infrastructure required to institute these organizations. By circumventing the current system, Abra users don’t have to worry about how to transfer money from blockchain to bank account.

Migrants are saving on fees and conversion rate costs by removing the middleman from the remittance system. These savings are too large to ignore, and now, industry leaders are researching this technology.

Blockchain Remittance on the Rise

For the first time ever, this year’s Global Money Transfer Summit (GMTS) will feature blockchain remittance FinTech. The GMTS is the largest international money transfer conference in the world. Every year, representatives from major financial institutions are chosen to speak at this event.

Among those invitees are representatives from Ripple, Stellar, and Cashaa. These popular cryptocurrency representatives will discuss the future of the money transfer industry and why blockchain technology is an essential path for the industry to travel.

Remittance Cryptocurrencies: Ripple

Ripple (XRP) was one of the first bank-focused cryptocurrencies to enter the market in 2012. Designed primarily for large international inter-bank money transfers, Ripple’s developers describe it as a real-time gross settlement system. The Ripple platform utilizes the XRP token to facilitate these global transfers instantly.

Ripple has managed to secure major partnerships with numerous large financial organizations including Fidor Bank in Munich, Bank of America, and Santander. In May 2015, Ripple became AML compliant after receiving a $700,000 fine from FinCEN for not complying with the Bank Secrecy Act. Today, the cryptocurrency remains in the top five coins in terms of market capitalization.

Remittance Fintech: A New Horizon

Blockchain technology is transforming the remittance sector, and Ripple isn’t alone in their quest to service the international money transfer industry. Today, numerous remittance-focused cryptocurrencies are available. You can expect to see further integration of this game-changing technology.

Now that the industry has openly acknowledged the benefits that blockchain technology brings to the table, the demand for blockchain-based remittance services is expected to increase significantly. This is great news for the millions of families that rely on this lifeline to survive.


This article by David Hamilton was previously published on Coincentral.com

About the Author:

David Hamilton aka DavidtheWriter has published thousands of cryptocurrency related articles. Currently, he resides in the epicenter of the cryptomarket – Puerto Rico. David is a strong advocate for blockchain technologies and financial sovereignty.

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