Global financial messaging network, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT), is carrying out a blockchain-based shareholder e-voting proof-of-concept (PoC) with major financial institutions. SWIFT announced the news in a press release published on March 6.
Per the press release, the PoC will be jointly conducted in the Asia Pacific region with Deutsche Bank, DBS, HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, securities software provider SLI and the Singapore Exchange (SGX). The test is meant to establish whether distributed ledger technology (DLT) can simplify the management of shareholder meetings.
More precisely, the test, which is set to run during the first half of 2019, is meant to accomplish four main goals, the press release explains. First of all, it is designed to test the deployment of a voting solution in collaboration with the issuers and a Central Securities Depository (CSD) while storing and managing data on a permissioned private blockchain.
Secondly, the PoC also seeks to demonstrate the viability of hybrid solutions “combining messaging and DLT to foster interoperability and avoid market fragmentation.”
The initiative will also test SWIFT’s capacity to host third-party applications in its DLT environment and reuse its security and interface stack.
Lastly, the PoC looks to confirm the use of a particular financial electronic data interchange standard — ISO 20022 — in the process.
While DBS and SGX will be both participants and issuers in the initiative, HSBC, Deutsche Bank, and the Standard Chartered Bank will be only participants. According to the release, the whole project will be facilitated by SWIFT’s DLT sandbox testing environment.
Additionally, the existing SWIFT network and infrastructure will be used to access, test and validate the applicability of the technology.
The press release quotes a SWIFT executive as saying:
“The emergence of blockchain technology is a new opportunity to look at improving these [current] processes. It is also an opportunity for SWIFT to offer flexibility in the adoption of this new technology through the re-use of ISO 20022 based solutions together with a high level of security and resilience that our industry requires.”
As Cointelegraph reported at the end of January, SWIFT has revealed that it plans to launch a PoC of a gateway — dubbed GPI Link — that will allow enterprise blockchain software firm R3 to link to GPI (Global Payments Innovation) payments from its platform.
Also at the end of January, reports surfaced that Iran was planning to unveil a state-backed cryptocurrency meant to skirt United States sanctions and the SWIFT system at the Electronic Banking and Payment Systems conference in Tehran that week, though the currency was not officially announced.