Have you tried sending money from your bank to another bank? chances are you use something called SWIFT, which stands for The Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication. Yeah, I know who uses Telecommunication as a word anymore? Anyways, this is an organization owned by the members who use it, about 10,500 financial institutions use this protocol to make money transfer. The guts of how this works is quite straight forward, financial institutions who use SWIFT have a unique code and there are secure walled-garden gateways for different currencies and the members/shareholders of SWIFT have invested a lot of money in the infrastructure to facilitate a transaction that sends money from one SWIFT account to another. Oh, did I mention it is 40 years old? and there has been very little innovation in terms of reducing the cost, speed or accessibility. You still pay a hefty fee to do a wire transfer, the last time I did it in my bank, it was close to $25/wire and you are charged if you get a wire into your account i.e if someone sends you money the intermediaries actually take a small percentage of it. Does it sound like daylight robbery to you? well, it is.

I believe that SWIFT will go the way of Kodak and the DoDo. I don’t predict the future but given how stagnant this organization has been and the speed at which technologies like Cryptocurrencies and open protocols like Ripple have been exploding, it is not a matter of if but more a matter of when. There are so many interesting companies that have leveraged the open technologies to build alternatives to SWIFT, that deliver all the same features of SWIFT but do it for a fraction of the cost at internet speed. I wanted to go into some of them, if you are interested you should come to our meetup today in Cafe Solon at 8.00pm. We will be discussing Cryptocurrencies, Currency Controls and How can we move forward in Iceland with regard to implementing these new solutions.


Stellar is a decentralized protocol for sending and receiving money in any pair of currencies. This means users can, for example, send a transaction from their Yen balance and have it arrive in Euros, Yen, or even bitcoin. We’re expecting to support the usual categories of transactions: payments to a merchant, remittances back home, or rent splits with a roommate… Read More


Ripple is an open-source, distributed payment protocol. It enables free and instant payments with no chargebacks and in any currency — including dollars, yen, euros, bitcoins, and even loyalty points. Businesses of any size can easily build payment solutions, such as banking or remittance apps, and accelerate the movement of money on Ripple. Ripple enables the world to move value like information moves today.

Ripple Labsripplelabs_logo

Ripple Labs (formerly OpenCoin) developed the Ripple protocol, which makes transacting as easy as emailing. The San Francisco-based startup is privately funded. Its team of cryptographers, security experts, distributed network developers, Silicon Valley and Wall Street veterans enables businesses of any size to easily build payment solutions and accelerate the movement of money globally. Together with the community, the company works to evolve finance so that payment systems are open, secure, constructive and globally inclusive.

This is an exciting development and given the speed at which these network technologies evolve, I am pretty sure the future is already here.