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Is Visa’s blockchain solution a Ripple competitor?

Visa Inc. currently is one of the largest electronic payment processors in the world. The multinational does not extend credit itself, it simply serves as an information exchange between the user and the concerned financial institution. Although they have been and still are one of the largest payment processors worldwide, they must catch up with accelerating technology in order to remain at the top.

Consequently, Visa announced that they will be working with Chain, a tech company that specialises in building cryptographic ledgers, to build the corporate B2B (business-to-business) payment network Visa B2B Connect. Chain was acquired last year by the Stellar-focused company Lightyear and the newly combined company was rebranded to Interstellar.

The Visa B2B Connect model was first pitched in late 2017 at the Singapore FinTech Festival. It demonstrated a seamless, secure, and scalable international payment network that would facilitate payments between businesses globally. It was recently launched to more than 30 global trade corridors, with an objective to reach 90 by the end of the year. According to the head of global business solutions at Visa, Kevin Phalen “Launching Visa B2B Connect marks an important industry milestone which will accelerate the evolution of how commercial payments move around the world”.

The initial partners helping the technology scale by bringing the technology to their existing clients are Bottomline and Fidelity Information Services (FIS). A third partner on the technological side is IBM Blockchain, Visa B2B Connect utilises the open source Hyperledger Fabric blockchain implementation framework developed by the Linux Foundation, the same product used by IBM.

As many people speculate Visa B2B Connect is a threat to Ripple’s plan of facilitating remittances and cross-border payments, it is worth mentioning that Visa’s new technology is targeted at businesses, similar to the Stellar Development Foundation’s audience. Moreover, Visa B2B Connect aims to create a secure pathway for international payments that will take one-two days instead of weeks, whereas cross-border payments facilitated by Ripple’s xRapid product is settled within seconds. It is hence clear that the two business models, Visa B2B Connect and Ripple’s xRapid, are different.

Image licensed via Shutterstock

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