Private permissioned blockchains are a key feature of Tassat’s B2B payments and financial services for banks.
Best of all, chief information security officer Al Berg said they are compliant while easily operating within U.S. regulations.
Tassat’s Digital Interbank Network is the world’s first blockchain-based, real-time payments network operating entirely within the existing regulatory framework of the American banking system.
Since 2019, it has processed more than $1 trillion in transactions. The first iteration served customers within the same bank, which was conducive to industries like shipping, where quick payments are required. The second level allows transfers between different banks on the network.
How TassatPay works
TassatPay is a white-label solution for bank B2B customers. It is accessible through an API or web UI. Customers use funds in their demand deposit accounts (DDA) to make payments via a blockchain-based digital wallet.
After logging in through a multi-factor process, they transfer funds from their DDA into the TassatPay wallet. TassatPay interfaces with the core banking system to confirm that the funds are available and places them in an omnibus account that holds all the funds from the bank’s customers.
In the wallet, tokens equal to the amount transferred are minted. From a regulatory perspective, the money has stayed in the FDIC-insured bank.
“Once people understand it, it’s very easy to see that there’s no new risk to the bank,” Berg said.
“These banks are looking to implement blockchain in a way that fits the regulatory framework and that doesn’t expose them to risk. That’s why we use a private permissioned blockchain based on ethereum, with each bank getting its own blockchain. The access is limited to the customers from that bank, and it’s done via an abstraction layer.”
Adding functionality to legacy systems
Tassat’s solution provides more functionality to banks using legacy technology. It’s also easy to implement as it sits apart from the core banking system and communicates with it. TassatPay interfaces with all major core banking systems. If it doesn’t, it’s easy to build a solution as only a few simple functions (balance check, deposit, withdrawal, and transfer) must be designed.
Berg said the walled garden where all customers are known is one key security feature. Routing and account numbers aren’t needed. That eliminates two information sources sought after by criminals. Wallet IDs only work within TassatPay. Customers can add approver status as an additional accuracy check.
Blockchain is so much more than crypto
Like many, Berg’s first exposure to the blockchain was through cryptocurrencies, but he quickly saw that the technology’s applications went far beyond crypto. Companies spend time and money proving to auditors that their holdings are accurate; blockchain addresses that.
Blockchain provides a huge step forward for the financial industry, Berg said. It addresses compliance requirements and has built-in transaction data security.
Smart contracts are the second plus. For example, they inject intelligence into transactions by allowing for early payment discounts. Documents can be attached to the transactions, and paperwork is eliminated. Transaction workflows are transparent and immutable; their histories cannot be altered.
Blockchain purists will say there’s nothing revolutionary about private blockchains, that they’re little different from existing databases. It’s important to separate technology from ideology, Berg stressed.
Private blockchains are ideal for banks with a known community of participants undergoing KYC and AML checks. The trust layer isn’t needed. Banking customers don’t want their business out there for everyone to see. Public governance clashes with customer, shareholder, and regulatory expectations.
“There are all these other things going on in the world where you can use a public chain,” Berg said. “This isn’t one of them. “Banking has different needs.”
Tony is a long-time contributor in the fintech and alt-fi spaces. A two-time LendIt Journalist of the Year nominee and winner in 2018, Tony has written more than 2,000 original articles on the blockchain, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, and emerging technologies over the past seven years. He has hosted panels at LendIt, the CfPA Summit, and DECENT's Unchained, a blockchain exposition in Hong Kong. Email Tony here.