A budding industry, with several pioneers boasting of better technology than the rest – the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies needs to do one thing – address the elephant in the room. However, given the uniqueness of the sector, the gentle yet powerful elephant has now transformed into a ferocious and intimidating 800-pound gorilla which the industry can’t afford to ignore. Emphasizing the same, Swell 2018, dedicated a session titled “800 Pound Gorilla” to digital asset adoption, moderated by Kanchan Kumar, Remit CEO.

When Will Digital Assets Become Mainstream?

The first Blockchain in Payments Report, released during the Swell 2018 event reveals that payment providers and banking institutions around the globe understand the value of using digital assets for settlement and are interested in this sector. The findings of the report sparked on-stage discussions, as four financial institutions working with RippleNet to use XRP for cross-border payments, presented their points of view.


The panel included Kown Park, head of business development at crypto exchange Bittrex, Alfredo O’Hagan, SVP of payment services at IDT, Nicholas Palacios, CFO of Cuallix and Brad Ganey, SVP and COO of Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.

Kumar started the discussion, highlight the impact that broader adoption of digital assets could bring on the cross-border payments industry. He noted that an estimated $10 trillion could be “sitting idle” in pre-funded accounts in the world. His views were forwarded by Palacious who said that his company’s tryst with digital assets focuses on customers, stating that their goal is to work on “cost efficiency, time efficiency, transparency and giving our clients the best product we have.”

What Can Blockchain and Crypto Offer for Cross-border Payments?

According to O’Hagan, “speed equals reliability” for his business, which falls in line with the customers’ expectations. IDT began using the traditional infrastructure for making cross-border payments but let digital assets into the mix about two years ago when they started settling payments in Nigeria and Mexico with Bitcoin. Then they started tests with xRapid, which provided them both speed and cost efficiency.

He added:

“And the average speed of a transaction end-to-end was about a minute and fifty-three seconds — from the moment of execution in the United States to the moment it arrived in a bank account in Mexico. That’s really just incredible.”

Speaking about credit unions, Ganey noted that these businesses had the potential to reap the rewards of the blockchain and crypto revolution. His company, Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union currently operates 1400 credit unions in the country which depend heavily on wire transfer for cross-border payments.

Park, who spoke for crypto exchange Bittrex, said that the exchange’s goal is to support the best use cases of digital assets which could help “unlock the value” of these assets.

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