Veem: Start-up uses blockchain

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For all the talk in Silicon Valley about the potential of blockchain technology, most of it is just that — talk.

Aside from cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and ethereum, there aren’t many real-world applications of blockchain, a distributed ledger that allows data to be cryptographically tracked and secured.

One exception is a San Francisco-based money transfer business called Veem. Founded in 2014 by Marwan Forzley, who sold his previous start-up to Western Union, Veem is setting out to simplify cross-border wire transfers and payments to vendors and contractors.

Veem, formerly known as Align Commerce, uses three methods of sending money: Treasury, SWIFT and blockchain.

Treasury implies the movement of money between bank accounts that are in Veem’s control. SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication) is the decades-old system that banks use for sending international payments, which can take days to settle.

Blockchain transactions occur over a digital ledger in a matter of seconds.

In the fourth quarter, Veem’s blockchain-based volume more than doubled from a year earlier and accounted for 62 percent of its total transactions, Forzley told CNBC. Its blockchain usage has been moving steadily up as the technology gains trust and more global exchanges get comfortable with transacting in and out of cryptocurrencies.

“Like any new technology, none of this bakes overnight,” Forzley said. “Compared to 2014, the environment is maturing and becoming a lot more business-like.”

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