The Stellar Development Foundation, the non-profit organization that oversees the Stellar open source payment network, has announced new partnerships to power cross-border payments in Europe, Africa, India and the Philippines.
Coins.ph, Flutterwave, ICICI Bank and Tempo have joined the Stellar ecosystem. All are looking at leveraging the Stellar network to provide their customers with a more convenient, faster and cheaper way of moving money globally.
ICICI Bank, one of India’s largest private sector banks, intends to use the Stellar network for both international and domestic money transfers. The bank plans to launch a pilot program on Stellar for cross-border payments. The new system would eliminate the traditional expensive wire fees, the bank said.
ICICI Bank said that it is launching a mobile wallet application with a Stellar backend for university and offices campuses, which may eventually be rolled out to a broader audience in the future.
Raj Chowdhury, head of the blockchain initiative at ICICI Bank, said that the bank “envisions blockchain technology playing a key role in banking in the years ahead.”
He said that with blockchain technology, “we are able to conduct business seamlessly with parties with which we had no prior relationships.”
“Blockchain platforms such as Stellar.org are providing us with an automated technology solution to establish trust without the need for an intermediary,” Chowdhury said.
“This technology is enabling us to conduct business a lot quicker, cheaper with lower error rates and lower vulnerability to cyber threats. It is helping us eradicate the need for post transaction settlements, which are cumbersome and expensive.”
Coins.ph, a Filipino bitcoin startup, will be using Stellar to allow clients to send money to anyone in the Philippines that has a phone number using a Stellar wallet or from any institution connected to the Stellar network.
Flutterwave, a pan-African fintech firm, will leverage the network to allow cross-border payments to M-Pesa, a leading mobile finance platform in Africa. For the 21 million M-Pesa users who are limited to transacting in Kenya, the move will expand their ability to send payments regardless of whether they are based in Kenya, Ghana or Nigeria.
Tempo Money Transfer, a licensed European remittance provider headquartered in Paris, will be using the Stella network to allow customers to send global remittances from Europe to other financial institutions that are part of the Stellar network.
Other participants in the Stellar ecosystem include Nigeria’s Parkway, which is using the network to connect the country’s five major telcos, enabling customers to send money from one another.
“Why this is powerful is that, by integrating with Stellar, all of these organizations will immediately gain access to all the other institutions on the Stellar network, enabling their customers to send and receive low-cost and instant money transfers,” Jed McCaleb, the creator of Stellar, wrote in a blog announcement.
“In 2017 and beyond, we will keep adding partners to the network, continuing our mission of making a massive impact in how money moves around the world.”
In May, Deloitte launched the Deloitte Digital Bank, which is leveraging the Stellar network to allow instant payments across borders.
“Banks are eager to replace the legacy systems,” said Thomas Jankovich, principal at Deloitte. “With all of the friction involved in sending payments—3-7 days to resolve transactions, high fees—we can erase those pain points using cutting-edge technology now.”