IBM is willing to team up with Facebook to develop blockchain technology, an IBM executive said, explaining that developing the blockchain ecosystem is “a team sport.” “Our clients are ready to work with (Facebook) and we’re ready to work with all of them to bring it together,” Jason Kelley, IBM’s blockchain general manager, said in an interview with CNBC. Kelley said a company the size of Facebook entering the fray helps to bring more legitimacy to the underlying blockchain technology. However, he did not mention whether IBM was interested in joining Facebook’s stablecoin consortium, known as the Libra Association.
Facebook’s Libra stablecoin could be key for Big Blue to realize its ambitions for applying its blockchain technology to the financial services industry. IBM has been focused on developing its patented Stellar blockchain to facilitate cross-border payments and launched the World Wire, an international payments system that uses Stellar. World Wire aims to skip banking intermediaries that add complexity and cost to the traditional international payments systems by replacing them with digital assets sent over a distributed network.
Stablecoins backed by local fiat currencies are seen as one of the best digital assets to substitute traditional banking intermediaries. In March, IBM announced that six international banks signed letters of intent to issue stablecoins, or tokens backed by fiat currencies, including Philippines-based RCBC, Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, and Bank Busan of South Korea, based on Stellar’s XLM crytpocurrency. World Wire has payment locations in 72 countries, with 48 currencies and 46 “banking endpoints” where people can send or receive cash, according to a statement from IBM.