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How Permissioned DeFi Will Transform Global Payments

DeFi Payments | Nov 27, 2023

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How Permissioned DeFi is revolutionizing cross-border payments with efficient, cost effective, secure and regulatory compliant transactions

The challenges of both traditional and permissionless DeFi for payments:  Traditional cross-border payment systems are often slow, expensive, and lack transparency. Permissionless DeFi, while offering advantages such as near-instant transfers and better traceability, falls short in terms of anti-money laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) functions, making it vulnerable to fraud and erroneous payments. These shortcomings have hindered its widespread adoption by financial institutions.

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Best of Both Worlds with Permissioned DeFi

Permissioned DeFi solves these concerns by integrating the best of both worlds: the efficiency of DeFi and the necessary compliance controls. This model involves several key steps and 8 key participants, ensuring a secure, compliant, and efficient process for cross-border transactions.  Here's the step-by-step process below:

Step 1. KYC Process and Whitelisting: Institutions undergo a platform-level KYC process conducted by whitelisters, who approve users and add their digital wallets to the allowed list. Institutions can act as whitelisters or appoint third parties for this role.

Step 2. Initiating the Transaction: Once KYC-approved, a sender (individual, business, or institution) can initiate a cross-border fiat money transfer.

Step 3. On-Ramp Instruction to OOSP: The sender’s fiat balance is debited by an On- and Off-Ramp Service Provider (OOSP), and the sender’s digital wallet is credited with a token of equivalent value.

Step 4. Token Types: The model can use various tokens, like bank-issued stablecoins or central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), representing the transaction’s main payment format.

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Step 5. Wrapping the Token: The token received in the digital wallet is wrapped by a service provider for interoperability across blockchains. The wrapping process involves locking the initial token in a smart contract and minting an equivalent amount of the wrapped token.

Step 6. Smart Contract and AMM:  A smart contract deployed on the permissioned DeFi protocol handles the transfer of the wrapped token. An Automated Market Maker (AMM) provides a liquidity pool to facilitate trades and ensure near-instant settlement.

Step 7. Unwrapping and Off-Ramping: Receivers can unwrap the received token on another blockchain network.If fiat currency is preferred, an off-ramp step converts the token back to fiat, crediting it to the receiver’s bank account.

Cost Advantage

The use of permissioned decentralized finance (DeFi) with cross-border payments is estimated to be 80% cheaper than a traditional global payment transaction.

Let's compare the two payment methods by cost category in the table below which clearly illustrates the cost-effectiveness of permissioned DeFi in cross-border payments, highlighting the potential for significant savings for both payment service providers and end customers.

Cost CategoryTraditional PaymentsPermissioned DeFi-Based Payments
Operational & IT Costs$6.40 (80% of total)$0.05 to $0.09
Compliance Costs$1.20 to $1.60 (15%-20% of total)Assumed same as traditional: $1.20 to $1.60
Total Cost per Transaction$8.00$1.25 to $1.69
  • There's a significant reduction in operational and IT costs in the permissioned DeFi model, dropping from $6.40 to a mere $0.05 to $0.09 per transaction.
  • These costs are assumed to remain the same in both models, ranging from $1.20 to $1.60 per transaction. This assumption is based on the premise that the regulatory and compliance requirements are similar across both platforms.
  • The overall cost per transaction in traditional payments is $8.00, whereas in the permissioned DeFi-based model, it ranges from $1.25 to $1.69. This represents a substantial cost reduction of approximately 80% in the permissioned DeFi model compared to traditional payment methods.

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Permissioned DeFi is poised to redefine the landscape of cross-border payments with an efficient, cost-effective and secure solution that is compliant with regulatory standards. By addressing the limitations of both traditional payment systems and permissionless DeFi, this innovative model opens up new possibilities for global financial transactions, making them more accessible, transparent, and efficient.

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