On this week’s episode of the podcast, Tradestreaming reporter Josh Liggett interviews Mark Ranta, the global head of digital banking solutions at ACI Worldwide. Mark is responsible for the day-to-day management of the consumer digital banking offerings within ACI.
Josh and Mark discuss tough issues about the changing payments landscape, zeroing in on blockchain and distributed ledger technology. Mark shares his views on the acceleration of payments and what’s really holding things back.
Can blockchain really be the future payment rails? Listen on to find out.
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Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode.
The speed of blockchain
When you look at blockchain and its potential, the biggest thing for us about the speed of payments is the transparency at the final piece of the puzzle — the running through the final clearance of the payment and the money moving from account to account through a central bank. That final clearance of the payment is probably the hardest thing to speed up today. With blockchain, the movement is instantaneous from ledger to ledger. The clearing and final settlement would work in an instantaneous and transparent manner.
Getting institutions together on the blockchain
There’s another piece of competing technology that has a say in the discussion: open APIs. The idea of working together as an ecosystem is being driven hard by open APIs and the Payment Service Directive II in Europe. You see us coming together as a community to work through how we’ll set up our APIs to enable third party payment providers to come into the ecosystem and elevate the pool for everyone. The mental shift that’s happening around APIs — that innovation can happen outside our walls — can help our blockchain discussion regarding working together as part of an ecosystem.
ACI’s PoC with central banks
At a high level, ACI was looking at blockchain from a payments perspective. We wanted to take a look at whether blockchain could be the future payment rails. We found that the blockchain can work. We also wanted to see where the technology is on its maturity curve on the consumer side. The current technology, though, is too immature to handle the amount of volume from a consumer payments perspective. We do see blockchain as being mature enough to move to market in corporate payments and some of the cross-border remittance cases like the kind Visa and Plaid announced at Money 20/20.