Carriers to launch blockchain consortium for cross-carrier payments

Three carriers, including Sprint and the huge Japanese group SoftBank, have launched a consortium to use blockchain to make cross-carrier payments.

The carriers include US mobile group Sprint – in which SoftBank is the biggest shareholder – and Taiwan’s Far EasTone. They and SoftBank are working with a US-based blockchain start-up called TBCASoft.

The consortium, Carrier Blockchain Study Group (CBSG) is seeking other telecoms carriers to join as members, said Doug Garland, Sprint vice president of innovation and partnerships. “CBSG is leading the telecommunication industry’s understanding and development of blockchain technology. The disruptive potential of blockchain on a global scale will be fully realised when carriers work together and leverage the new platform and ecosystem.”

CBSG had a soft launch earlier this year with just SoftBank, Sprint and TBCASoft, but now Far EasTone has joined and the organisation is becoming a cross-carrier consortium that is inviting other members. The formal launch will take place at Mobile World Congress Americas in San Francisco, starting next Tuesday.

SoftBank, Sprint and TBCASoft say they have already succeeded in demonstrating a cross-carrier payment platform system that uses TBCASoft’s blockchain technology.

CBSG says it will promote research and development for the platform with the aim of providing members with services such as secured clearing and settlement, personal authentication, IoT applications and other services in the future.

The three founder members have succeeded in demonstrating cross-carrier top-ups, mobile wallet roaming, international remittances and IoT payment on a cross-carrier payment platform system using TBCASoft’s blockchain technology that can be integrated with telecom carriers’ existing systems.

The project, which connects carriers’ telecommunication back-end systems, is designed to eliminate late transactions or transaction failures between carriers.

“TBCASoft is developing a cross-carrier distributed ledger network consisting of telecom carrier-hosted servers running the TBCASoft blockchain platform. We aim to work with global telecom carriers to build a very secure and high-performance blockchain system where disruptive services can be ubiquitously provided to billions of telecom carrier subscribers worldwide.” said Ling Wu, founder and CEO of TBCASoft.

SoftBank knows it can successfully integrate its business support system and mobile app servers with TBCASoft blockchain platform, said SoftBank vice president Takeshi Fukuizumi. “SoftBank is satisfied with confirming the implementation and system performance of the TBCASoft’s blockchain platform on which value transfer service led by telecom carriers will be operated.”