TradeIX, the technology company behind the trade finance blockchain consortium Marco Polo has announced the project is on course to go fully live in the coming months.
The Dublin-based firm, which released the Marco Polo receivables financing solution in October, says that its payments commitment and accounts payable financing modules will be “fully delivered and commercially ready to go into actual live transactions with customers as we move through quarter one”.
Speaking to GTR, the group’s CEO Robert Barnes comments: “We have over 30 banks and transactions ready to start going live in quarter two. Some may go a little bit before that. ”
He adds: “We’re very close to full commercial release of the entire platform from purchase-to-pay and payment commitment to order-to-cash.”
Marco Polo was launched back in September 2017 on R3’s Corda framework with the aim of transforming trade finance processes, increasing productivity and working capital, while also reducing risk, by changing the way trading participants share data with one another.
More than 30 banks have signed up to the initiative to date, and towards the end of last year the project carried out its biggest trade finance trial with over 70 organisations, including corporates and financial institutions.
Accenture, the strategy and consulting firm which invested in, and formed a strategic partnership with TradeIX in mid-December, says it is aiming to expand the Marco Polo project beyond just the larger players in trade.
Speaking to GTR, the firm’s managing director of blockchain services, Melanie Cutlan, says: “Accenture and TradeIX will work together to develop touchless finance processes, such as procure-to-pay and order-to-cash, enabling a simple, secure mechanism for transactions across the full ecosystem – not just for banks, but all members engaging in trade finance. Buyers and sellers for instance.”
Cutlan adds that the growing adoption of distributed ledger technology means that all of these processes will be visible to everyone on the network, enabling people to get paid faster.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the maritime security software developer Pole Star announced it would join the Marco Polo project and bring its PurpleTRAC regulatory technologies to the network, allowing Marco Polo users engaged in maritime trade to see ship movements over the past 12 months and check whether businesses, or people, they’re trading with are on sanctions lists.
Getting Marco Polo off the ground hasn’t been plain sailing. The project had originally been slated to go into production by early 2019, with TradeIX declining to comment on the reasons for the delay in a previous interview with GTR.
Meanwhile, two of the project’s rivals in the trade space have been moving towards, or even reached, full commercialisation.
We.trade told GTR in September 2019 that nine banks were live on the platform, with some having moved to full commercialisation. The Hyperledger Fabric-powered platform is a trade finance platform designed specifically for SMEs, but also works to address open account transactions.
Meanwhile komgo, the platform that digitises and streamlines trade and commodity finance, went live in December 2018, with GTR reporting that it had released four different trade finance products by June 2019.