Align Commerce has announced the launch of the public beta of its offering, which facilitates cross-border payments via blockchain technology.
In its “traditional” sense, Bitcoin’s use for cross-border payments takes the form of converting between fiat and bitcoin currency, the latter being sent across borders in a matter of minutes. Align Commerce’s service, which is being made available in 34 countries, instead leverages Bitcoin technology to facilitate relatively quick and frictionless clearing and settlement of payments in the payee’s local currency.
Marwan Forzley, CEO and Founder of Align Commerce, noted how over $50 billion is spent annually on wire and foreign exchange fees, in a system whose users can wait up to seven days and have no visibility into the process. He explained:
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“The blockchain offers a ready alternative. The Align Commerce Payments Platform is the first in the industry to use this global rail to help small and medium-sized businesses quickly collect and receive payments in their local currency while avoiding high wire fees and various hidden fees.”
Align Commerce charges a flat 1.9% of the amount sent, independent of transaction size. Forzley previously explained to Finance Magnates that “businesses value a simple cost structure for fees.”
The use of blockchain technology as a mechanism for bank transfers has reportedly become research area of interest for several major financial institutions, most recently UBS. Several smaller banks in the US, as well as Fidor Bank in Germany, have already adopted Ripple’s protocol to facilitate such functions.