Blockchain-powered payments get another boost

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Daniel Webber
Daniel Webber
Founder & CEO
Daniel is Founder and CEO of FXcompared and has 18 years of experience in the international finance world focusing on cross-border payments, technology and the property sectors. Daniel is widely… Read more
  • Bantotal joins the list of financial firms looking to make a shift to blockchain as it partners with Bitex
  • New service is expected to reduce payment times in South America
  • “The integration of Bitex into Bantotal program represents a major step in the breakthrough of blockchain technology in banking”, says Bitex

The rise of blockchain in the cross-border payments world appeared to get another boost this week after a financial services corporation in South America said it would work alongside a blockchain provider to improve services.

Bantotal, which is a well-known name in Latin America providing services to 60 banking establishments in well over ten countries, will be working with the crypto firm Bitex in the future.

The partnership is designed to give a blockchain edge to payments placed using Bantotal services. The banking clients of Bantotal will now be able to use the services provided by Bitex themselves.

As is often the case with shifts towards blockchain in this sphere, the main benefit from the consumer’s perspective will be the arrival of speedier payment times.

According to press reports, this improvement can be dramatic. One test of the Bitex system showed that the time taken for a transaction between the countries Argentina and Paraguay to settle was slashed – from a whole month to just an hour.

Bantotal, which is headquartered in Uruguay, offers its service to 20 million people around the region.

Bitex is a tool designed to swap cash into cryptocurrencies for the purposes of the transaction and then back into cash once the payment is made.

Bitex’s Chief Marketing Officer, Manuel Beaudroit, said that the new partnership would be a “major step”.

“The integration of Bitex into Bantotal program represents a major step in the breakthrough of blockchain technology in banking”, he said.

“With this technology, banks can have access to an API and have control of the whole process of [cross-border] payment with visibility and reliability on the bitcoin blockchain.”

“If I want to do a payment from Argentina to Chile, I don’t need to buy dollars with the Argentinian pesos then transfer the dollars to the U.S. then move the dollars to Chile and exchange them into Chilean pesos…I can just send a payment from Argentina to Chile directly [using bitcoin]”, he added.

A representative of the Stellar Development Foundation, which is an open platform for financial product development, also weighed in.

“We think this announcement further validates the value financial institutions are recognizing in digital assets and distributed ledger technology for executing core banking activities, like international payments”, said Lisa Nestor, who serves as the Stellar Development Foundation’s Director of Partnerships.

“It’s also no coincidence these product partnerships are being launched in the [Latin American] market where cross-border payments, even in neighboring nations, can be slow and expensive.”

The announcement from Bantotal is one in a long line of commitments to blockchain on behalf of banks in recent months, and more are expected to follow suit.

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