Can the traditional financial market infrastructure be transformed in 2024? Partior says yes

Wednesday 10 January 2024 12:19 CET | Editor: Mirela Ciobanu | Interview

Atul Bhuchar, Head of Product at Partior, delves into the global B2B payments landscape, by explaining his company’s role in transforming the financial market infrastructure.

Can you provide an overview of the global B2B payments landscape?

The total value of cross-border payments is projected to reach USD 250 trillion by 2027 with B2B payments taking the lion's share of 96%. The ongoing evolution of the B2B payments landscape signals a departure from traditional methods toward more efficient digital solutions and initiatives such as e-wallets and real-time payment systems — all aimed at addressing the longstanding challenges of cross-border payments.

Multiple bilateral linkages between payment infrastructures have been established, with notable integrations like PayNow (Singapore) and PromptPay (Thailand), UPI (India), and DuitNow (Malaysia). In the Middle East and Africa, AMF launched a multi-currency platform for cross-border payments, while AfCFTA and Afreximbank introduced PAPSS in Africa. These are just some examples of those that have been established, with more partnerships underway globally.

Distributed ledger technology is reshaping economic realities by enhancing accessibility, unlocking liquidity, and expanding the range of asset types within the B2B ecosystem. Part of this expanded asset range includes CBDCs and tokenised deposits. With exploratory initiatives on the rise, tokenised deposits have proven their versatility for various use cases like domestic and cross-border settlement, and serving as cash collateral that mirrors the functionality of commercial bank money.


What are the flaws in traditional B2B payments?

Cross-border payments play a critical role in facilitating global commerce, but the current system is plagued by inefficiencies, high costs, and outdated infrastructure. Approximately USD 120 billion of transaction charges are incurred annually from cross-border payments. This is a result of multiple factors, including the involvement of multiple intermediaries, currency conversion expenses, liquidity costs, and compliance requirements.

Extended settlement cycles, which are often due to sequential processing among intermediaries, add to the complexity of cross-border transactions. Traditional payment infrastructures' separation of funds movement and messaging exacerbates the reconciliation process, leading to delays and discrepancies that require manual intervention.

This is amplified when payment returns resulting from insufficient beneficiary information and lack of pre-validation incur additional costs, delays, and liquidity inefficiencies. The absence of real-time payments also hampers effective cash management and financial planning, particularly in a globally interconnected world where businesses operate round the clock.

To enhance cross-border payments, the Financial Stability Board has set global targets for speed, transparency, and access, aiming for implementation by the end of 2027. While progress has been made, achieving faster crediting of wholesale payments within an hour remains a priority and creating programmable payment infrastructure will be crucial to address the structural bottlenecks in traditional systems.


Could you explain Partior and its role in transforming financial market infrastructure?

Today’s market infrastructures are challenged by siloed ledgers across time zones and currencies, with separate asset records for each entity, resulting in inefficiencies, delays, and operational risks. Partior’s Unified Ledger addresses these pain points by bringing real-time and programmable capabilities to B2B payments.

Its programmable features allow for interoperability across tokenised deposits, tokenised assets, and central bank funds, effectively addressing liquidity fragmentation and establishing a real-time global source of truth for various market entities and assets. This innovation enables instant liquidity through atomic transactions, eliminates the need for reconciliation, and streamlines the settlement process for various financial instruments, from commercial bank deposits to tokenised assets like wholesale CBDCs (wCBDCs) and securities.

Unlike legacy systems, Partior introduces a 24x7 global atomic clearing and settlement system that operates in real-time for both commercial bank money (M1), and in the future, central bank money (M0). This innovation enables next-generation, programmable value transfers and overcomes the limitations of sequential processing.

Our FX PvP solution demonstrates this to address the demand for risk-free, efficient, and reliable settlement solutions in the FX markets. This is supported by Partior's Global Liquidity Optimisation solution which provides banks with immediate access to both on-chain and off-chain liquidity as well as programmable enterprise solutions through On-Partior Corporate Digital Currency accounts. 


Could you explain how Partior is addressing the challenges in B2B payments?

Partior’s global clearing and settlement solution changes cross-border transactions by enabling 24x7 multi-currency clearing, overcoming the traditional limitation where most domestic 24x7 clearing rails are confined to local currencies.

Workflow automation is achieved through Partior’s smart contracts, which enable automated, programmable payments that react to real-time events based on predefined rules. Concurrent pre-validation ensures a thorough screening and validation process for payment information before settlement, improving certainty and preventing the use of liquidity for unqualified payments.

The introduction of real-time settlement finality also offers instant liquidity and transparent visibility, ensuring a clear and seamless payment journey from initiation to completion. The network supports full-value transfers to beneficiaries also known as no-deduct payments, ensuring that the beneficiary bank receives the full value, thus optimising the payment process.

As an integrated solution that supports both account and token-based models, Partior unlocks a wide spectrum of applications and users that includes 24x7 margin payments in capital markets. In the digital asset space, Partior’s solution can settle the cash leg 24x7 for corresponding transfers of securities on digital asset networks, amongst others.


In the context of CBDCs and payments interoperability projects worldwide, how does Partior contribute to creating interoperable, programmable, and composable payments? Has Partior been involved in any related initiatives or pilots?

Partior is currently live with multi-currency commercial flows, demonstrating the practical application of next-generation solutions in real-world scenarios. Born out of Project Ubin in 2021, Partior was founded through a multi-year and multi-phase industry initiative to explore the use of distributed ledger technology for the clearing and settlement of payments and securities.

Partior’s involvement in 2022 with Project Dunbar further underscores our commitment to driving interoperability, programmability, and composability in the evolving CBDC landscape.

In collaboration with the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) and the central banks of Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Africa, Partior has played a pivotal role in developing a working prototype of the Quorum distributed ledger technology. The shared platform supports multi-CBDCs and enables financial institutions to conduct direct transactions using CBDCs issued by participating banks, streamlining costs and processes.

As the winner of the G20 TechSprint Challenge 2022, Partior’s solution provided a global open network to connect different countries’ RTGS and CBDC networks for participating banks to access their main source of central bank liquidity. This innovative approach facilitates interoperability with both account and token-based CBDC networks, leveraging blockchain smart contracts to enable seamless, instant PvP and DvP transfers.

In 2023, Partior ranked among the top five finalists in the G20 TechSprint Challenge for cross-border payments, in the emerging market and developing economies (EMDE) currencies category. Partior’s submission focused on facilitating FX-settlement in EMDE currencies with an atomic FX PvPvP solution. This helps address challenges such as settlement risks in multi-leg transactions, prolonged settlement durations, liquidity constraints, and volatility in FX rates.


What's next on Partior's agenda?

As a live payment network built on blockchain technology, we focus on simplifying the settlement process for various financial instruments, from commercial bank deposits to tokenised assets. We believe that innovation can and should complement existing financial systems and are actively collaborating with global customers and stakeholders to integrate payment corridors encompassing major currencies and EMDE currencies.

At the same time, we are going live with a pilot for FX PvP post-trade settlement with select banks to eliminate settlement risks, enable 24x7 real-time atomic settlement across global currencies, and enhance liquidity management with new financial instruments such as intraday FX swaps.  

As we grow our network of participants and platform capabilities, we remain committed to fostering interoperability and innovation across the financial ecosystem and ushering in the next iteration of financial market infrastructure.


About Atul Bhuchar

With over 25 years of experience working at world-leading financial institutions, Atul joins Partior as its Head of Product, leading his team to develop solutions that shape the future of global finance. Prior to joining Partior, Atul served as the Executive Director & Group Payments Head, Global Transaction Services for DBS Bank wherein, Atul formulated and implemented the 3i — instant, intelligent, integrated payments strategy, to make banking invisible.


About Partior

Partior, the global unified ledger market infrastructure for clearing and settlement, is redefining the way money moves globally by optimising how liquidity is accessed. Founded in 2021, Partior is an independent company that grew from the Project Ubin collaboration backed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Its shareholders include Temasek DBS, J.P. Morgan and Standard Chartered.

For more information please visit Partior’s website:

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Keywords: blockchain, cross-border payments, payment processing, banks, wholesale CBDC, CBDC, FX
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: Asia
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Banking & Fintech

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