5 Erlang and Elixir use cases in FinTech

Erlang, Elixir and other programming languages running on the BEAM virtual machine are powering some of the world’s biggest and most productive financial services systems.

In this post, we’ll be examining five (of many) use cases, showcasing the power and versatility of these languages and how they’re actively revolutionising the financial services sector.

Vocalink and Erlang

For: Ultra-reliable transaction delivery

Vocalink has been a driving force around the world in the evolution of real-time payments for over a decade. These real-time solutions sit at the centre of the global payments infrastructure and are designed to ‘run on their own rails’ at a massive scale. Their systems are relied on by financial institutions, corporations and governments to provide high-availability and resilient payment solutions. 

Erlang is used for immediate payment switches by many companies facilitating instant bank transfers and bill payment services. Erlang, Mnesia and RabbitMQ are used for Vocalink’s global instant payment systems (IPS) which enable real-time payments in Singapore, Thailand, the US and other countries. 

The Vocalink IPS is now in use by The Clearing House – the banking association and payments companies owned by the largest commercial banks in the US. It has also been selected as the payment technology for the innovative P27 Scandinavian cross/border payment initiative. 

The ability to be able to securely and reliably handle payment requests at scale is thanks to Erlang, which, being originally designed for telecoms switching, is ideal for systems that need to be always on and always processing.

Solaris and Erlang/ Elixir

For: Fast and agile development

Solaris is a Berlin-based FinTech company, making waves at a pace rarely seen before in the financial industry. Their Banking-as-a-Service platform enables businesses to offer their financial products via Elixir-powered APIs.

It took Solaris less than three years to build the platform, scale up a team, and raise almost €100m in funding with investments. 

Their full banking license enables companies to offer their financial products. Partners can access Solaris modules in the fields of e-money, instant credit, lending, and digital banking as well as services from third-party providers integrated with the platform via an API. 

Goldman Sachs for Erlang

For: Creating system reliability for application innovation 

Goldman Sachs leverages hundreds of applications, all communicating with each other. The Data Management and Distribution group provides messaging middleware services to the firm’s ecosystem. RabbitMQ, built in Erlang, is a key part of the messaging portfolio at Goldman Sachs. 

The Erlang programming language is being used by Goldman Sachs in part of its hedge fund trading platform. Erlang is used as part of the real-time monitoring solution for this distributed trading system enabling changes to be made rapidly in response to market conditions.

RabbitMQ is a free, Open Source message broker that is highly available, fault-tolerant and scalable. As a system middleware layer, it enables different services in your application to communicate with each other optimally. The key value of using RabbitMQ at Goldman Sachs has been the freedom it has afforded its developers to innovate with minimal friction. This freedom helps Goldman Sachs to be one of the traditional financial services firms recognised as keeping pace with the most exciting FinTechs.

Sum Up for Erlang and Elixir

For: Their 24/7 system availability and fault-tolerance

SumUP is the leading mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) company in Europe, enabling hundreds of thousands of small businesses in countries worldwide to get paid. They used Erlang to build their payment service from scratch.

They picked Erlang as the ‘right tool for the job’ because card processing is an industry requiring backend systems of a certain type, where availability and fault-tolerance are a must, and Erlang boasts a battle-proven track record in delivering this in telecoms and FinTech.

Beyond the original hardware, mobile, and web apps, SumUp has also developed a suite of APIs and SDKs for integrating SumUp payment into other apps and services.

Erlang, Elixir and Fintech

As you can see Erlang, Elixir and other BEAM VM-based technologies are being used in production across the Fintech landscape – this includes private and public blockchain, payment and credit card gateways, banking APIs and more traditional infrastructure management.

It is easy to build prototypes with Erlang which is why it’s a great choice for fast-moving FinTech startups. The Elixir programming language mixes the best of Erlang in terms of runtime, the concurrency model, and fault tolerance, with powerful and battle-tested frameworks.

There are many more use cases for Erlang and other BEAM VM technologies from the biggest investment banks in the world to nimble FinTech challengers, which we’ll continue to explore.

Keep reading

Lessons FinTech Can Learn From Telecom – Part 1/2
fintech and telco

Lessons FinTech Can Learn From Telecom – Part 1/2

Many lessons learnt from the telecoms industry can be applied to Fintech. And Erlang/Elixir/OTP technologies have a case as the right tool for the job.