Visa Europe Exploring Use of Blockchain Tech for Remittances

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Visa Europe’s innovation hub has teamed up with distributed ledger specialist Epiphyte on a project looking at how Blockchain technology can be used for international remittances. Conceding that traditional payment rails are far from ideal for remittances, Visa Europe Collab is turning its attention to a new technology that has long been touted as a cheaper and simpler alternative for moving funds across borders.

“There is a real opportunity to develop an improved remittance service for both the sender and receiver of payments in terms of fees, speed and ease of use,” says Jon Downing, innovation partner, emerging payments at Visa Europe Collab. “That’s why we’re proactively exploring the area with Epiphyte, to see if the protocols and processes involved could be improved by utilising blockchain technology.”

A report from the World Bank last year put the global amount of remittances in 2014 at $582 billion and estimated that migrants paid an average of 7.9% in fees on these money transfers.

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The proof of concept is already underway and over the next two months will see a controlled test environment used to run real-world transaction using bitcoin as an alternative to conventional remittance processing.

Edan Yago, CEO, Epiphyte, says:

“International remittances are vital for millions of families across the world, but they can be expensive, cumbersome and slow. We believe that blockchain technology has the potential to change all of that, but we need to find a way of making that technology work for the mainstream financial world.

“By combining Visa’s experience as the largest payments network in the world with our experience of the distributed ledger we’re hoping we can work together to reshape this sector for the better.”

About Richard Kastelein

In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, ' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, the Netherlands where he has set down his anchor to raise a family and write.

Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015) and director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published in Harvard Business Review, Venturebeat, Wired, The Guardian and a number of other publications.

Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute software and Technology. He has over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the EuropeanCommission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division. Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology at over 50 events in 30+ cities.

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