Co-founders of TradeAssets, Lakshmanan Sankaran and Sumit Roy, explain the thinking behind the UAE’s first blockchain-powered e-marketplace for banks.


Powered by blockchain and launched out of the Middle East, TradeAssets is the first trade finance e-marketplace of its kind for banks. Launched earlier this year by Dubai-based Fintech Innovations International, TradeAssets was built to create efficiency and transparency in the traditional deal-making process, increase connectivity between institutions globally, make trade finance more accessible, and improve profitability for clients.

Its objectives are:

  • Create a secure electronic trade finance marketplace for banks
  • Use automation and functionality to digitise and improve a very manual process
  • Build an ecosystem where participants manage risk efficiently and increase profitability

Founded by senior banking professionals Lakshmanan Sankaran and Sumit Roy, TradeAssets is creating a global ecosystem of financial institutions trading in secondary and primary trade finance assets while securely connected 24/7.

Team TradeAssets consists of industry veterans with decades of experience in international banking, located across global financial centres.


Why TradeAssets?

The current trade assets distribution process is manual and inefficient. The process is conducted and managed over phone, fax, Excel sheets and email. TradeAssets is an online marketplace where financial institutions can mitigate risk and enhance revenues by buying and selling trade finance assets and similar products online 24/7. TradeAssets operates in a huge global market consisting of over 14,000 banks with estimated secondary asset sales of US$1tn and primary asset origination of US$2tn. It is creating a universe of connected institutions with instant matching of buyer-seller appetite. TradeAssets is designed to supplement and complement banks’ existing bilateral relationships and provide continuous opportunities to find new partner banks. With regard to existing partnerships, it makes them more efficient and valuable.


How it works

TradeAssets is a platform purely for banks with simplicity and security at its core. The founders of TradeAssets mapped out the manual steps of trade distribution and origination and recreated the same digitally to allow any bank to conduct the same process online with other banks. To keep the platform steps as user-friendly as possible, TradeAssets created a beta working group of product specialists and client banks earlier this year and incorporated their suggestions to ensure that the actual users will be comfortable with the functionality of the platform.

The fact that the TradeAssets platform is online means that it is not geographically restricted to the UAE or the Middle East. Also, since banks do not have to integrate their systems with the platform, it is instantly available for use. The speed, transparency and user-friendly pricing model is encouraging quick adoption by financial institutions. The business model is geared to create value through efficiency.


Expansion plans

TradeAssets recently made news by announcing its expansion into the Bangladesh market. The first trade finance e-marketplace of its kind for banks has received outstanding response from the world’s most active trade finance country. Under the guidance of industry veteran and TradeAssets’ executive director, Dolly Huq, in just over three months, 15 Bangladeshi banks have signed on to the trade finance platform with many more in the pipeline. This interest represents the banks’ commitment to leverage a digital, online platform that will connect them to more counterparts on a real-time basis and create opportunities to do more business at better terms. After receiving phenomenal response from Bangladesh, TradeAssets is geared up to extend its offering and sign up a huge line up of banks in the Middle East, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Egypt and Turkey, among others.

TradeAssets will offer unprecedented opportunities to banks to redefine how primary and secondary deals and pricing is done in the US$16tn world of global trade. The digitisation of the current manual processes will give banks the ability to mitigate risk, cut costs and increase revenues.