SWIFT and Symbiont announce corporate data blockchain pilot

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The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) disclosed on Tuesday a partnership with fintech company Symbiont to provide more accurate data for financial firms through blockchain technology. 

Vanguard, Citigroup, American Century Investments, and Northern Trust are among the companies participating in the initiative.

According to the announcement, the pilot project “could help providers distribute data in near real time to global custody clients.” Through Assembly, Symbiont’s proprietary technology platform, smart contracts will be used “to create a network effect that leverages the 11,000+ institutions connected to SWIFT globally.”

In 2017, Symbiont partnered up with Vanguard to improve price index data distribution through blockchain, consuming data from funds worth $1.3 trillion at the time.

“By bringing Symbiont’s Assembly and smart contracts together with SWIFT’s extensive network, we’re able to automatically harmonize data from multiple sources of a corporate action event,” said Tom Zschach, chief Innovation Officer at SWIFT, adding that Assembly’s smart contract would allow to “compare information shared between participants and flag discrepancies, contradictions or inconsistencies across custodians.”

Due to the rise of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDC), the company has been making efforts to maintain its relevance in the international economic order. In 2017, the interbank cooperative launched its global payments’ innovation, gpi, seeking to enhance payments tracking and fee transparency, allowing customers to send cross-border payments 24 hours per day.

In February, the European Commission decided to deactivate the SWIFT network for several Russian banks due to the war in Ukraine. Recently in a panel session at the Blockchain Central Davos conference, Michael Miebach, Mastercard’s CEO, said that he does not expect SWIFT is unlikely in five years. Founded in 1973, SWIFT handles over five billion financial messages a year and has a presence in 200 countries.