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Distributed Ledgers in Payments: Beyond the Bitcoin Hype

Changes to the complex pipelines that make payments possible rarely occur, but when they do happen, the consequences can be profound.

Distributed ledger technology, first showcased by the Bitcoin digital currency network, has the potential for such dramatic change—yet most banks have not adequately prepared for the ensuing battles to retain control of customers and of merchant payment interfaces. By removing central intermediaries, simplifying connections between counterparties and recording data on a tamper-proof block chain, distributed ledger technology has the potential to improve the speed, transparency and efficiency with which payments are made. Bitcoin, for all its flaws, provides a compelling example of the possibilities, and has catalyzed a surge of investment and innovation. Since 2012, roughly $1 billion in capital has poured into hundreds of distributed-ledger investments. Official recognition has followed: For example, Ripple Labs, a prominent distributed ledger start-up, has secured a seat on the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payments Task Force, the US regulator’s flagship payments modernization effort.


Mercredi 31 Août 2016