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How Blockchain can become a key enabler of Open Banking


James Brown, General Manager of FinTechNZ discusses how Blockchain could become a key enabler of Open Banking.

There’s recently been a lot of talk in the news about Blockchain and how this new technology is going to transform the world. I often get asked the question “do you have any live examples of it being used in everyday life?”

At a recent lunch jointly hosted by FinTechNZ and one of our founding members IBM we explored this, and discussed how Blockchain could become a key enabler of Open Banking.

Discussions covered how New Zealand has the advantage of being a close-knit community, and it’s heartening to see corporates and start-ups, regulators, the legal community and government collaborating to solve challenges and capitalise on opportunities.

A representative from Choice to Pay said “I was impressed with the sentiment in the room, and the willingness to start looking for shared solutions, standards, and methods to enable Open Banking collaborations and innovations to kick off across the industry.”

We have seen a number of New Zealand Blockchain initiatives like Lina Review (created by Leigh Flounders and Mitchell Pham), but the one I am most excited about is a local Kiwi company KlickEx. During the lunch, CEO Robert Bell shared his journey and his vision to make financial transfers across the South Pacific easier and more cost effective.

“KlickEx is partnering with IBM Blockchain globally on our cross-border payments solution, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot more FinTech innovation happening locally – I have the sense that some world-leading innovation is emerging here,” says Shahid Saiyad, Associate Partner, Global Business Services, IBM New Zealand.

What KlickEx demonstrates is a commercial and successfully operational Blockchain use case that had benefits beyond crypto speculators. So now we know that it can be done, we need to understand how we can replicate this.

FinTechNZ is now reviewing its strategy to include a key priority around Open Banking and I am very pleased that the major banks are keen to explore this as a collective initiative for all of New Zealand which is a fantastic result.

As many industry-driven responses to regulatory pressures tend to be reactionary, FinTechNZ is moving proactively to pull together some of the key parties that will be needed to bring Open Banking to New Zealand successfully. FinTechNZ will continue to work with the ecosystem to share practical uses of this exciting technology and further harness the power of collaboration.

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