By Susan Altman
Four important players have just added their heft to efforts of Swiss bank UBS to develop a system to enable financial markets to make payments and settle transactions quicker and at lower cost using blockchain technology reports Reuters. Swiss bank UBS launched a “Utility Settlement Coin” (USC) as a digital cash equivalent of each of the major currencies backed by central banks last year. Although the USC concept lacks a snappy name like bitcoin, the USC is fully backed by cash assets at a central bank, the lack of that backing being the major weakness of the decentralized bitcoin currency. UBS and its technology platform provider, Clearmatics Technologies, have now been joined by BNY Mellon, Deutsche Bank, Santander and markets operator ICAP in further developing the potential of the USC. The USC initiative is an opportunity for industry thought leaders to explore the possibilities of the digital cash technology through a series of short iterative phases and platform deployments increasing the number of market participants, broadening engagement, connectivity and network effect, according to ICAP. The group intends to have active dialogue with central banks and regulators to ensure a robust and efficient regulatory structure within which the USC can be deployed. The participants expect that the USC will unlock the benefits of distributive technology to the financial industry and ultimately, to customers, including by lowering costs and increasing transaction security.