The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has launched a new proof-of-concept (PoC) for distributed ledger-technology (DLT) based trade finance transactions using smart contracts.

The PoC was developed in collaboration with Deloitte, Bank of China, the Bank of East Asia, Hang Seng Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered, which form the DLT trade finance working group under HKMA’s fintech facilitation office.

The successful completion of this PoC will be followed by a pilot transaction, to which HKMA and its partner banks are currently inviting clients and intermediaries.

Gautam Jain, global head of digitisation and client access, transaction banking at Standard Chartered, says: “At Standard Chartered, we firmly believe that we can leverage DLT to transform today’s trade finance solutions, and deliver improved efficiency and greater transparency to our clients and their ecosystems. We see significant potential in the application of smart contracts in trade finance and will continue to work with industry partners and regulators to make this a reality in the near future.”

The bank already completed a cross-border business payment pilot transaction of US$500 from Singapore in August last year, using the Ripple distributed ledger network.

Standard Chartered’s regional chief information officer, Greater China and North Asia, Peter Clark, adds: “Standard Chartered is committed to using new technology to facilitate new business models to bring more convenience to clients. DLT in trade finance is not just about digitising the processes, but also standardising the data models and enabling more collaboration among industry participants.  We would like to thank HKMA for its strong support for this PoC project. As a leading bank in Hong Kong, we will continue with our greatest efforts to drive innovation and shape the future of banking.”