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Leading global transaction banks kick off blockchain proof of concept with Swift GPI

Leading global transaction banks kick off blockchain proof of concept with Swift GPI

25 April 2017 | 5 min read

Swift’s proof of concept will determine if distributed ledger technology can help banks reconcile their nostro accounts in real time

PoC announcement in Spanish

Brussels, 25 April 2017 – Swift, in collaboration with leading global transaction banks, is developing a proof of concept (PoC) application that will test whether distributed ledger technology (DLT) can be used by banks to improve the reconciliation of their nostro accounts in real time, optimising their global liquidity.

Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, DBS Bank, RBC Royal Bank and Wells Fargo are among the banks participating in the PoC. These banks are working with Swift to identify the challenges, define the specifications, build the application and ultimately test the concept. An additional 20 banks will join the programme at a later stage to further validate and test the DLT concept. The results of the PoC will be presented at Sibos in Toronto in October.

The PoC supports Swift’s goal of making cross-border payments more efficient, a mission it has championed through the launch of the global payments innovation (gpi) service, which offers customers fast, transparent and traceable cross-border payments.

“The nostro DLT proof of concept is deeply embedded in the Swift GPI story of streamlining the cross-border payments system,” says Wim Raymaekers, Head of Banking Markets and Swift GPI at Swift. “It allows us to explore how this maturing technology can provide a collaborative solution to what our gpi member banks have identified as a significant pain point – nostro accounts reconciliation.”

In developing the PoC, Swift is leveraging the recently released Hyperledger (*) Fabric v1 technology, and combining it with key Swift assets, to ensure that all the information related to nostro/vostro accounts is kept private and seen only by the account owner and its correspondent banking partner. The PoC application will use a private permissioned blockchain in a closed user group environment, with specific user profiles and strong data controls, and user privileges and data access will be strictly governed. The data stored on the ledger and the APIs used to query and update it will also be designed to support ISO 20022 message formats.

Damien Vanderveken, Head of R&D, SwiftLab and UX at Swift, says: “We are very excited to start the DLT proof of concept with these participating banks. This is a great step forward and another example of how Swift and the industry can work together to solve concrete business challenges with an innovative and collaborative mindset.”

Since the launch of gpi in February, twelve gpi banks are sending several hundreds of thousands cross-border payments across the globe, and over 30 additional banks started their implementation project for live operations. In total, nearly 100 banks have signed up to Swift GPI, representing over 75% of all cross-border payments on Swift.

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(*) Swift is a founding and board member of the Hyperledger project

Here is what some of the participating banks are saying about the initiative:

ANZ is delighted to be participating in this multilateral PoC with Swift, having already completed a bilateral proof in Q3, 2016. We see this as the next logical step to scaling a DLT solution for Nostro Reconciliation, which in turn will bring significant fulfilment benefits to our customers at the same time as simplifying our operational processes. We also hope to realise additional benefits for wholesale liquidity management with the aim of lowering costs and better managing risk across the Swift community. We remain very optimistic for the future of secure and scalable DLT technologies and their ability to drive value for both banks and their customers.

Nigel Dobson, GM Wholesale Digital, Australia and New Zealand Banking Group

BNP Paribas is delighted to be participating in this initiative as part of the broader Swift GPI initiative. For BNP Paribas, being the bank for a changing world means anticipating changes and transforming them into opportunities for our customers. To succeed in this mission we are building an innovative ecosystem which includes many different internal and external initiatives. We welcome the opportunity to work with Swift on the Nostro reconciliation proof of concept that aims to see how DLT technologies can help address today’s challenges in liquidity management.

Marc Carlos, Head of Corporate Trade and Treasury Solutions EMEA BNP Paribas

Distributed Ledger Technology holds the potential to dramatically reduce the need for reconciliation in a shared ledger environment.  BNY Mellon, a member of the gpi Vision Group and early adopter, is pleased to join Swift and other participating banks in exploring how DLT could streamline nostro account reconciliation in the cross-border payment process.

Christopher Mager, Head of Global Innovation for BNY Mellon Treasury Services

About Swift
Swift is a global member-owned cooperative and the world’s leading provider of secure financial messaging services. We provide our community with a platform for messaging, standards for communicating and we offer products and services to facilitate access and integration; identification, analysis and financial crime compliance. Our messaging platform, products and services connect more than 11,000 banking and securities organisations, market infrastructures and corporate customers in more than 200 countries and territories, enabling them to communicate securely and exchange standardised financial messages in a reliable way. As their trusted provider, we facilitate global and local financial flows, support trade and commerce all around the world; we relentlessly pursue operational excellence and continually seek ways to lower costs, reduce risks and eliminate operational inefficiencies. Headquartered in Belgium, Swift’s international governance and oversight reinforces the neutral, global character of its cooperative structure. Swift’s global office network ensures an active presence in all the major financial centres.

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