A type of non- RTGS settlement system and how it can work in a Bitcoin-centric ecosystem.

Jonathan M. Hazell

 

On September 18th, the Bank of England announced that it was launching a Hybrid settlement system that included Bitcoin transactions. 

http://www.newsbtc.com/2016/09/18/bank-of-england-hybrid-payment-system/. The Bank of England explained that this created Hybrid system will help eliminate security risks and prepare the bank for digital currency use. Security issues can be a weakness of RTGS systems. The Bank of England had a system failure in 2014. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/bank-of-england/11174071/UK-bank-payment-system-goes-offline.html. Computer system failures or hacking episodes obviously become a concern to systems that employ instantaneous transactions. Bitcoin and the Blockchain are entirely reliant on a working online infrastructure. A systemic crash is detrimental to the digital currency payment system. Hybrid settlement systems can account for such systemic failures. Riksbank uses a Hybrid system of settlement. It offers RTGS settlements and does Hybrid settlements for collateralized clients. It also though employs emergency protocols. In the 2007-2009 crisis this included issuing loans in currencies other than their native Swedish Kronor,  http://www.riksbank.se/en/Financial-stability/Crisis-management-in-connection-with-a-financial-crisis. A hybrid settlement system in the Bitcoin-centric ecosystem can use a variety of regularly used currencies and even tokens that can be exchanged for commodities such as metals perhaps for net settlements. Bitcoin is a RTGS settlement system by nature. The exchanges happen irrevocably on the Blockchain. If this exchange is not able to be recorded for some reason, say the Internet gets shut down from a hacked system, an environmental disaster or governmental shutdown. A settlement system can employ intermediate exchange units that can be substituted to guarantee the exchange. If an Internet infrastructure issue is prolonged, this settlement system could potentially employ mesh networking technology to insure the transactions. The Bitcoin exchange may not be possible on one end because of online disruption. If that party can communicate with a mesh networked exchange then that settlement system can proceed forward. This type of protocol may be beneficial in an emergency compromised scenario. Parties may have to be properly collateralized, but it allows Bitcoin transaction to continue in challenged times, even if the units of exchange have to be converted into other currencies or commodity tokens.