The fintech company Tassat launched its new blockchain product, the Digital Interbank Network, on Saturday, onboarding three banks and completing over $800 million in transactions during its first three official days of operation.
While blockchain projects usually conjure ideas of decentralization, Tassat has taken a different approach. The New York–based company created TassatPay, a private, blockchain-based solution for commercial banks that allows its business customers to send instantaneous payments 24/7, 365 days a year. Since 2019, TassatPay has processed over $500 billion for clients such as Signature Bank.
TassatPay enables a bank’s customers to transact with each other, although it doesn’t allow for payments between customers of different banks. With the launch of the Digital Interbank Network, B2B customers at any member bank will be able to transact with each other. Currently, there are three participating banks: Cogent Bank, Customers Bank, and Western Alliance Bank. Customers conducted around 400 transactions totaling over $500 million within eight hours at the beginning of the launch weekend.
Tassat may lack the name recognition of a few other crypto fintech disrupters, but its traction demonstrates the varied use cases for blockchain technology. As CEO Kevin Greene explained to Fortune, a lack of hype among average crypto followers is intentional—Tassat’s product is exclusively for commercial, nonconsumer clients, with the understanding that the vast majority of payments are between businesses, rather than business-to-consumer, or B2C.
The landscape of B2B payments is still quite antiquated. Although digital solutions are advancing, an estimated 40% of B2B payments in the U.S. are still made via paper checks, with payments restricted to business hours.
Greene said he saw the potential of blockchain and realized financial institutions could apply the technology to digital payments but without the risks of decentralized systems. Instead, Tassat has built a permissioned, proof-of-authority-based blockchain—a concept that may repel early boosters of cryptocurrencies, but one that’s proved attractive to Tassat’s customers.
“We think banks are well equipped to disrupt the disrupters,” Greene said.
Major banks have long sought their own blockchain solutions. There was the startup R3, a consortium backed by some of the most powerful global banks, including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, although it didn’t gain much traction. J.P. Morgan now has its own blockchain team called Onyx, as well as a digital currency—JPM Coin—to facilitate global payments.
Greene said Tassat specifically targets smaller regional and community banks with the understanding that they’re less likely to develop their own, bespoke payment options. “We think it’s important for traditional banks that are not megabanks to get empowered with blockchain,” Greene said.
“The theory is that all creativity exists in the Bay Area and Silicon Valley,” he added. “What we see is, when we empower banks with blockchain, they’re creative, because they know their customers.”