FedNow “early adopter” list does not include blockchains, but some may be integrated later

FedNow, the Federal Reserve’s upcoming instant payment system, released its list of certified early adopters on June 29. The organizations on the list have been certified as ready to connect to the platform when it launches at the end of July. There are no blockchain networks on the list, despite at least two previously announcing they would connect to the instant payment system.

The FedNow service stated that some organizations not on the list may integrate later, and Metal Blockchain said it still plans to connect to the platform once it finds “the right bank sponsor.”

List of organizations certified with the FedNow service. Source: Federal Reserve Board Services

FedNow is an instant payment service under development by the United States Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve claims that the service allows direct transfers between banks in the US, similar to the Faster Payments systems in the United Kingdom and the European Single Euro Payments Area systems.

Currently, bank transfers within the US can only be made via ACH or wire transfers, which are not immediately cleared. The launch of FedNow is scheduled for July.

At least two blockchain networks have announced they will “connect” with FedNow when it launches. One of them is Metallicus’ Metal Blockchain. The Metallicus team stated in May that its network enables direct conversion of cash to stablecoins through a connection to FedNow. At the time, FedNow’s official website also listed Metallicus in its “service provider showcase,” providing further evidence that the integration was going to happen.

Metal Blockchain’s listing in FedNow’s “service provider showcase” on May 11, which was subsequently removed. Source: FedNow website as of May 11

This listing was removed within a few days of the announcement. On May 15, Twitter user JeffXRP noticed about the strangeness of his sudden removal.

The list of “service providers” released on June 29 includes ACI Worldwide, ECS Fin, FPS Gold, Open Payment Network, and 11 other payment providers, but neither Metallicus nor Metal Blockchain are on it.

Speaking to Cointelegraph, Marshall Hayner, co-founder and CEO of Metallicus, claimed that the company still intends to integrate Metal Blockchain with FedNow once it secures proper bank sponsorship, stating:

“Metallicus is currently communicating with the Federal Reserve and the administrators of the FedNow program as we seek the right bank sponsor and remain focused on building our banking chain technology.”

The other blockchain network that announced integration with FedNow was Tassat, maker of the TassatPay service and Digital Interbank Network. Tassat claims its network is a business-to-business private blockchain for commercial banks. In March, it announced it will connect its B2B digital payments platform to its upcoming FedNow service.

Tassat was listed on the FedNow website’s “service provider showcase” on June 30.

TassatPay listing in the FedNow service provider showcase, June 30. Source: FedNow

However, Tassat is not listed as a certified service provider in the June 30 early adopters list. Cointelegraph contacted the Tassat team via email, but received no response at time of publication.

The Federal Reserve announcement explained that some non-listed organizations may become service providers in the future:

“In addition to initial users, the Federal Reserve continues to work with financial institutions and service providers planning to join later in 2023 and beyond, as a first step toward growing a robust network aimed at reaching all 10,000 U.S. financial institutions.”

FedNow has been criticized by some blockchain users for allegedly being a step towards a central bank digital currency (CBDC). US presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has claimed it will lead to “financial slavery.” In April, the Federal Reserve issued a statement denying that FedNow is related to a CBDC.

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