Softbank Completes Blockchain Test for Cross-Carrier Mobile Payments

Japanese telecoms giant Softbank Corp. has completed a blockchain proof-of-concept (PoC) that allows P2P mobile payments across different carriers.

Softbank said on Wednesday the technology was developed in partnership with blockchain startup TBCASoft, as well as Synchronoss, a Nasdaq-listed firm that delivered a SMS-replacement communications protocol called Rich Communication Service (RCS) in Japan.

Based on the announcement, the partners jointly created the blockchain-based PoC, which notably integrates RCS with a distributed network deployed across participating carriers.

The system is intended to be deployed among mobile carriers in an effort to replace the traditional SMS text messging system with a richer pool of features, such as sending multimedia content, documents and voices calls via carrier networks instead of mobile apps.

Softbank further explained that, with a distribute network as a underlying technology, users can send funds stored in their wallets within the RCS system from one carrier to another in a peer-to-peer fashion – which would be especially useful when traveling abroad.

Softbank Corp. vice president Takeshi Fukuizumi commented in the announcement:

“This RCS and blockchain based mobile payments PoC demonstrates the value operator-led services can deliver. Not only do we foresee our new mobile payment service empowering merchants to operate digitally, and at a scale that was previously only available to big brands, but it will also give our customers more flexibility when it comes to their purchasing and traveling habits.”

The effort comes a year after Softbank, TBCASoft and several global major carriers formed a Carrier Blockchain Study Group with the goal of developing a cross-carrier blockchain payments service. Others joining the consortium at the time included U.S.-based carrier Sprint and FarEasTone, one of largest operators in Taiwan.

Softbank image via Shutterstock

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