Blockchain platforms MineHub and TradeWaltz have connected their respective networks following a proof-of-concept transaction with trading company Sumitomo Corporation.

Incorporated in 2020 by a consortium of Japanese corporations and supported by the Japanese government, TradeWaltz is an NTT Data-led cross-industry trade collaboration platform that digitises trade processes in the Asian country. On the platform, electronic trade documents such as letters of credit, bills of lading and purchase orders can be shared among shippers, banks, forwarders, shipping companies, government agencies and other parties involved in trade procedures.

MineHub, which went live in 2019, allows parties involved in selling, buying, delivering and paying for a cargo of minerals to collaborate securely in real-time, with miners able to share documents such as mineral production and digital contracts with buyers. It also enables metals and mining companies to capture and administer the ESG credentials of their brands and products, request and record third-party certification of this information, and then have this certified data automatically included into the transaction datasets related to the sale, purchase or financing of their products.

In the proof of concept, the two networks, both of which run on the Hyperledger Fabric enterprise blockchain, collaborated on a Sumitomo copper ore import transaction, with data flowing between the MineHub platform to TradeWaltz. The two parties say this resulted in efficiency savings of 60% compared to manual processes.

“A key concern in the digital trade community is the emergence of digital islands, which limit the potential of connectivity,” says Arnoud Star Busmann, CEO at MineHub. “Our collaboration with TradeWaltz demonstrates how interoperability between leading platforms removes those constraints to unlock that exponential value creation for mining and metals supply chains.”

Speaking at the recent International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Digital Trade Conference, Someya Satoru, managing director of TradeWaltz, said: “What is required for trade digitalisation is interoperability and standardisation. If platforms covering different areas link their data to each other, users can access their functions in a single window, making it easy to choose any platform to connect with the rest of the world. This is similar to Star Alliance, where flights around the world can be accessed from any airline within the alliance.”

The two platforms say they now intend to integrate their systems to enable a “seamless” connection of mining and metals supply chains with digital trade services in Japan.