Originally published at www.thepaypers.com

The Paypers interviews BTL’s CEO Guy Halford-Thompson on the latest blockchain deployments in the banking industry and the company’s partnership with Visa.

In an interview with The Paypers, BTL’s CEO Guy Halford-Thompson shares valuable insights on why banks, payment schemes and payment providers are reaching out to blockchain and what benefits could this emerging technology bring to businesses across the globe.

Operating from both Canada and the UK, BTL offers blockchain solutions to businesses across multiple industries. With offices in Vancouver and Canary Wharf in London, the company is positioning itself as a front-runner in the blockchain ecosystem, providing advice and knowledge to industry leaders.

According to the company’s own data, BTL currently does not operate its own network, but it enables established industry players to launch new products alongside, drastically improving new ones by leveraging BTL’s core settlement and asset trading solution and blockchain platform called Interbit.

Explaining what the platform’s role is, Guy said that “Interbit is an open, multi-chain, asset settlement platform with a suite of APIs and smart contracts that allow companies across the world to participate and innovate to provide global access to fast, secure, and auditable financial and asset trading services”.

Therefore, “We believe in working with existing industry leaders, not disrupting them” is the company’s credo, according to BTL’s CEO, and as a result, the company allows clients to test the technology in a secure environment whilst taking advantages of the benefits it brings.

How can blockchain assist cross-border payments between banks?

The blockchain company CEO mentions that in September 2016, BTL teamed up with Visa Europe Collab to test how blockchain can streamline domestic and cross-border payments between banks. As a result, BTL has built on Interbit a prototype that showcases the capabilities of a blockchain based interbank payment network.

The CEO of BTL added that “the settlement process between banks is expensive, slow and in most cases highly inefficient, but the platform is capable of modernising this process by automating many of the compliance and regulation processes that create a large overhead for banks. Therefore, this will severely reduce the settlement time, as well as the cost of sending payments, in particular when sending money across borders. Additionally, credit risk is severely minimised and similarly the companies’ financial resource requirements.”

BTL has invited European banks to participate in the project and Guy announced that he will provide details around the roles of the participants as the pilot develops.

The banks have accepted taking part within the project as blockchain technology creates an environment where parties can transact digital cash, rather than first requiring banks to send messages between themselves and then settle at the end of the day. BTL can assist banks to access blockchain technology in a secure environment and gives them the opportunity to test it and learn about the benefits it provides.

While working on this project, Guy said that the biggest challenge for the blockchain company and other companies in this space is collaborating with large corporate companies which are not used to operate within an agile and fast-changing environment. “Another hurdle that arises often is the lack of education regarding what blockchain is, what are its benefits, where does it apply”, he added. Many large corporates are still learning about the technology and have not had the opportunity to explore what it offers.

Other blockchain benefits for B2B business

Interbank transfers are not the only use case for blockchain technology; it also has other potential applications in the financial services ecosystem. This technology will eventually underpin all types of payments, from consumer, to commercial to interbank. As with current announcements in the space, the company sees the first commercial products being released in early 2017 for B2B business.

Guy also explains how secure blockchain is. When it comes to security measures taken into consideration around this technology, by nature, blockchain uses industry standard cryptography to ensure that transactions are secure. However, he adds, “the integrations and endpoints at which blockchain technology integrates with existing and legacy systems still need to be secured by traditional means.”

In the long run, argues the CEO of BTL, blockchain technology will integrate itself into back-end systems of financial services. This will ultimately allow for faster, more secure and efficient transactions. Yet, the biggest change that the technology will bring is the reduction of costs and compliance overhead by regulatory bodies.