If you’re also struggling to keep track of the surge of recent trade finance blockchain announcements, Sanne Wass provides an update on some of the latest developments.
Wave, the fintech startup that in 2016 completed the world’s first live blockchain trade transaction with Barclays, will soon release a commercial blockchain-powered product for paperless trade.
The company kicked off a new round of live pilots in November after having spent the last year developing its product. The first two pilots have already been successfully conducted with BBVA and two logistics companies.
A commercial product is expected to be released in early 2018, and Wave’s aim is to start the go-to-market process by mid-2019.
R3 has partnered with fintech firm TradeIX and 12 international banks to develop an open account trade finance platform powered by distributed ledger technology (DLT).
The application will allow banks to automate pre and post-shipment financing and risk mitigation for corporate buyers and sellers around the world. It will help simplify trade, improve visibility into trade flows and simplify access to credit and risk mitigation services throughout the trade lifecycle.
The banks involved are Bangkok Bank, Barclays, BBVA, Bladex, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, CTBC Bank, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Shinhan Bank, Royal Bank of Scotland and Wells Fargo.
The parties expect the first pilots of the application to begin in February 2018, after which they will expand the services and onboard additional members.
Seven banks, including BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, BNY Mellon and State Street, have joined forces with R3 and Finastra to develop a blockchain-powered marketplace for syndicated loans. The first pilots have already been successfully completed and the final objective is to go live in 2018.
The aim of the new platform, which is called Fusion LenderComm, is to drive transparency and efficiency in the syndicated loan market by improving data sharing between agent and lenders.
CGI, together with Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada and MUFG, have completed what they claim is a “first-ever” proof of concept to enable banks to easily integrate blockchain capabilities with their existing trade finance platforms.
The PoC specifically tested the interoperability between CGI’s Trade360, a trade finance platform used by 19 banks in more than 90 countries worldwide, and Skuchain’s blockchain-powered Brackets platform for smart contracts. Following the announcement at Sibos in October, parties have now begun working on a commercialisation analysis for the solution.
Compliance software provider Accuity has partnered with R3 to integrate its financial crime screening tools with the Corda distributed ledger technology platform.
It will mean that those who are licensed to use Accuity’s software will be able to screen transactions conducted on Corda without leaving the platform. The solution will likely see commercial use in line with the production phase of blockchain for trade finance, which is expected in 2018.
Trade finance digitisation solutions provider Bolero has partnered with R3 to redesign its electronic bill of lading (eBL) service using blockchain technology.
Pilots began in Q4 2017 with plans to scale quickly for subsequent pilots and use cases in 2018.
Commerzbank, Bank of Montreal, Erste Group and CaixaBank announced in October that they had joined an initiative by UBS and IBM to build a global blockchain-powered trade finance platform. The four additional banks will help scale up a proof of concept that IBM and UBS have successfully concluded.
Under the name Batavia, the platform will facilitate the financing of transactions across all types of trade, where goods are transported by air, land or sea. Among other things, transacting parties will be able to track the progress of a shipment, with smart contracts enabling payments to automatically be released incrementally along each step of the process.
Pilot transactions are scheduled to take place with customers in 2018. Only once pilots have concluded will the parties define the future timeline, including when the platform will go into production.
Global insurer AIG and fintech firm TradeIX are building a blockchain-powered platform for invoice finance. Having completed their first pilot transaction with Standard Chartered and a global logistics company in October, the parties are now ready to scale up to more corporates and banks.
AIG will be the platform’s main insurance provider, but the firm is also looking at ways in which it can integrate re-insurance and co-insurance to seamlessly allow for even bigger scale.
Voltron was the first trade finance prototype to be showcased by R3 in mid-2017. The purpose of the application is to streamline the processing of sight letters of credit, and it will incorporate shippers and carriers.
Hosted on the Corda platform, it is built together with CGI and a group of 11 global banks: Bangkok Bank, BBVA, BNP Paribas, HSBC, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, Mizuho, RBS, Scotiabank, SEB and US Bank.
The parties are currently piloting the platform with the goal of making it widely available this year.
Global Trade Connectivity Network
The monetary authorities of Hong Kong and Singapore have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on a blockchain-based solution that will enable the seamless transfer of digital documents and data across borders. It is set to go live in early 2019.
Multiple banks are involved in the development on both sides, and technology and fintech vendors have been invited to make proposals for inclusion on the platform. The platform is expected to be rolled out to other markets relatively quickly. Japan is in line to be next, with South China to be connected via Shenzhen, while Thailand will also be included before long.
The we.trade consortium, which includes Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Société Générale, UniCredit, Santander and Nordea, is working with IBM to develop a blockchain-powered platform for managing, tracking and protecting trade transactions between SMEs.
The parties expect that version 1.0 of the platform will go live with test clients in February 2018, and will have full deployment to the market at the start of Q2.
Barclays, Standard Chartered and BNP Paribas, together with Unilever, Sainsbury’s, Sappi and four fintech startups have kicked off a project to explore how blockchain technology can be used to track physical supply chains while unlocking access to financing for sustainable sourcing.
The blockchain solution is developed by Provenance, a social enterprise that helps firms track their supply chains using blockchain, and Halotrade, a fintech firm that uses smart contracts to convert supply chain sustainability data into automated access to trade finance.
The parties will carry out three pilots throughout 2018 – the first will track tea from farmers in Malawi.