What Is ISO 20022 Crypto? Explained

ISO 20022 revolutionizes bank communication via SWIFT, enhancing information exchange and interoperability.

Its adoption not only transforms traditional finance but could also reshape the crypto industry.

Cryptocurrencies complying with the standard may integrate faster into the financial system, and if major coins like Bitcoin or ETH gain official ISO numbers within SWIFT, it could redefine the relationship between crypto and fiat ecosystems.

ISO 20022 crypto
ISO 20022: Global financial messaging standard for streamlined communication among banks, corporations, and governments: Photo source (Crypto.News)

ISO 20022 Message Types

Currently, all SWIFT messages are labeled as “MT” messages, using the ISO 15022 standard.

ISO 20022 aims to replace this standard and introduces MX format messages.

Despite its development in the early 2000s, MT/ISO 15022 messages continue to be the prevailing type of SWIFT messaging.

SWIFT ISO 20022 Timeline and ISO 20022 and The Federal Reserve 

Mandatory adoption of MX/ISO 20022 will happen in stages.

The European Union’s high-value cross-border payments, especially those in the Target2 system, will transition in November 2022.

The U.S. Federal Reserve will fully shift to ISO 20022 by November 2023.

MT/ISO 15022 will be partially used until 2025, after which most MT/ISO 15022 messages won’t be allowed.

SWIFT predicts that by 2023, 79% of high-value payments by volume and 87% by value will use the ISO 20022 system if timelines are met.

Also read: How To Short Crypto On Coinbase?

ISO 20022 Coins and Cryptocurrencies 

Several ISO 20022 compliant cryptocurrencies include:

  1. Ripple (XRP): ISO 20022 Standards Body member designed for crypto-fiat bridging, especially for cross-border settlements, with a processing capacity of around 1,500 transactions per second.
  2. Stellar Lumens (XLM): ISO 20022 Standards Body member, focusing on cross-currency conversions for individuals, capable of processing up to 3,000 transactions per second.
  3. XinFin (XDC): Compliant, an Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compatible blockchain for enterprises, offering up to 2,000 transactions per second and finality in as little as 2 seconds.
  4. Iota (IOTA): Compliant centralized blockchain for IoT transactions, with recognized potential but criticized for centralization, security flaws, and vulnerabilities.
  5. Algorand (ALGO): Compliant Layer-1 blockchain addressing Ethereum’s issues, processing approximately 1,300 transactions per second, though concerns exist regarding proof-of-stake dominance.
  6. Hedera Hashgraph (HBAR): Rumored to be compliant, offering a distributed ledger platform with unique transaction sequencing, capable of 10,000 transactions per second or more. HBAR is its native cryptocurrency.
  7. Quant (QNT): Compliant Quant Protocol solving interoperability between major blockchains, EVM compatible, considered an Ethereum Layer-2, with QNT as its native currency.
  8. Cardano (ADA): Rumored to be compliant, the world’s largest proof-of-stake blockchain, founded by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, with ADA as its native currency.

ISO 20022 and Ripple 

Ripple, the second-largest Fintech firm in the U.S., has the cryptocurrency Ripple (XRP), among the largest by market cap and the largest ISO 20022 compliant crypto.

It facilitates near-instant settlements for banks and financial institutions, using a poll-based consensus method for transaction validation.

People use XRP for swift currency conversions and cross-border remittances.

Over 300 major banks worldwide use Stellar Lumens (XLM), Ripple’s secondary currency, as a settlement layer for cross-currency conversions.

U.S.-based Ripple validators include Bank of America and American Express.

Despite a lawsuit by the SEC alleging an unregistered securities offering, many believe Ripple will prevail, especially considering the commodity classification of Bitcoin and ETH.

If successful, Ripple’s ISO 20022 compliance could drive broader adoption among U.S. banks, potentially impacting its price and market cap.

ISO Integration With Other Cryptocurrencies

BTC and ETH may encounter ISO 20022 compliance hurdles, but they won’t be excluded from the new messaging system.

If they do become compliant, they could get ISO codes, facilitating potential integration with central bank messaging systems and databases of major financial companies.

ISO could assign three-letter identifiers, known as ISO 4217 codes, to compliant cryptos, mirroring their existing tickers.

Some cryptos already have unofficial ISO 4217 codes, like Bitcoin’s XBT.

ISO standards also assign ISIN codes to securities, including cryptocurrency derivatives, which could enhance settlement speed through integration with the ISO 20022 system.

The ISO 20022 for Beginners

ISO 20022 is a detailed financial messaging protocol designed to enhance security, prevent fraud, and improve interoperability among banks and financial institutions.

Now, let’s delve into its technical aspects.

The Technical Details of ISO 20022 Payments 

ISO 20022 differs from ISO 15022, providing rich data, including modeling methodology, a central dictionary, and XML and ASN.1 design rules.

Rich data involves a vast compilation of information.

Modeling methodology entails assumptions, perspectives, analytical tools, and stages for building models.

Analytical tools, like dashboards and query builders, aid research and evaluation.

XML is a markup language, more flexible than HTML, with user-defined tags.

ASN is a global identifier facilitating routing information exchange among autonomous systems for global fund transfers.

Benefits of ISO 20022 Specification 

ISO 20022, though technically complex, offers significant benefits for institutions, potentially leading to lower banking fees for consumers.

Key advantages include enhanced interoperability, versatile messaging for various payment methods, improved data quality for better fraud detection, and increased automation accuracy.

However, challenges exist, as some banks may face difficulties migrating to the standard, incurring additional costs and potentially missing adoption timelines proposed by SWIFT.


ISO 20022 is poised to revolutionize global interbank communication.

The convergence of ISO 20022 and cryptocurrency could fuel widespread adoption among both traditional and decentralized financial entities.

The impact on the crypto market remains uncertain. While ISO 20022 success might lessen the demand for crypto as a payment solution, the more probable scenario involves a unprecedented convergence of traditional finance (TradFi) and decentralized finance/crypto (DeFi).

Investors should monitor ISO 20022 compliant cryptos for potential price movements and track whether cryptocurrencies adopt the ISO 20022 standard.

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