Financial technology provider MonetaGo has been selected by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to build the Trade Finance Registry (TFR), an interoperable industry utility that bridges information silos between banks to combat duplicate financing fraud.

The TFR serves as a secure database for records of trade transactions financed across foreign and local banking institutions in Singapore. Using the registry, banks can perform queries on select document information, which is cryptographically hashed to create electronic fingerprints that are then pushed to MonetaGo’s secure, unified data repository to detect double financing attempts in near real time.

The TFR project began in 2020, as Singapore’s commodity trade sector scrambled to regain trust after a string of high-profile company collapses and accusations of fraud. Jointly led by Standard Chartered and DBS Bank, it brought together a total of 14 international financial institutions along with ABS and government innovation agency Enterprise Singapore, and an initial pilot – built on a platform developed by Singapore-based technology firm dltledgers – was carried out in June that year.

Although the two lead banks at the time framed the TFR as a means of upholding the integrity of Singapore’s trade finance sector, some onlookers expressed scepticism as to its value. In October 2020, when the TFR entered proof-of-concept stage, one source said to GTR: “I can’t see how it would work unless the relevant counterparties are directly linked to the registry and can validate themselves. For any system without independent validation from buyers, you cannot guard against fraudulent sales invoices.”

Following a request for proposals and a tender process by ABS, MonetaGo has been named as the registry’s new technology provider.

Created in partnership with Singaporean financial technology provider GUUD, which is providing the user interface, the new TFR connects to the global hash registry of MonetaGo’s Secure Financing solution, which not only checks for full or partial matches, but also connects to trusted sources of information – such as tax authorities – to validate trade data, allowing financiers to ensure that the underlying transaction is genuine.

Unlike the dltledgers solution, MonetaGo’s TFR uses a confidential computing environment, rather than blockchain, which the fintech recently said does not work for its use case at a global scale.

“This successful win of the national industry mandate further cements the recognition of MonetaGo as the world’s foremost provider of trade finance deduplication technology,” says Jesse Chenard, founder and CEO of MonetaGo. “The MonetaGo-built TFR will significantly improve efficiencies in trade finance in Singapore, mitigating the risk of double financing and ensuring confidence can be upheld globally in trade fraud mitigation.”

“We are pleased to have selected MonetaGo to develop the TFR, taking advantage of their experience in this niche area and the use of their global hash registry to detect fraud across national borders,” adds Ong Ai Boon, director at the ABS.

This is the latest big win for MonetaGo, which has had its Secure Financing platform in live production since 2018. In September last year, the company linked up with Swift in a pilot to connect its solution to over 11,000 Swift-connected financial institutions over the payments network’s API-enabled infrastructure. Thus far, the company says it has processed over 3 million transactions.

Work to roll out the TFR is now underway, and go-live is targeted for the fourth quarter of this year.