Factorin, a Moscow-based fintech startup, has launched a blockchain-powered supply chain and trade finance platform, following a six-month pilot.

Based on a private version of Ethereum blockchain technology, the distributed platform is made up of around 20 nodes, which co-founder Andrei Maklin tells GTR are located within participants’ servers. “Each of the large players has their own nodes, and these nodes are within their IT perimeter of security, and integrated into their systems,” he says. “That includes the warehousing systems, the logistics systems, CRM, ERP, and document management systems. The data is kept at the node, but we connect the systems of the various players so that they can communicate with each other without human intervention.”

Currently, the system offers invoice discounting capabilities, via a series of automatically-generated, legally-binding documents. “When the supplier delivers the goods, as soon as the goods are scanned into a system which is integrated to the node, we generate all the supporting documents that are needed on behalf of the buyer. The system allows us to prepare different sets depending on the requirements of the banks or other participants. These documents are automatically signed and replicated on the nodes of the intended participants of the deal,” explains Maklin, who stresses that all of this data is only replicated on the nodes of the participants, and that Factorin as a platform does not have access to it.

A supplier can then select which invoices it wants to access financing for, via a mobile app. According to Maklin, suppliers on the platform are guaranteed to receive financing within 24 hours, which means much-needed working capital for small businesses.

The digital signature on the documents is legally binding under Russian law, and given that the documents are signed automatically, the only human intervention required is for occasional checks and verifications.

The system has been in testing since December 18, and has processed approximately 12,000 transactions since then. It now counts 13 banks among its participants, and Russian retail giant Dixy has already gone live on the system, allowing its suppliers to receive payments within one business day instead of the previous two weeks.

Following the success of the pilot in Russia, the Factorin team now plans to shift its operations to the European Union. Maklin explains that the system of digital signatures within Factorin is also legally valid in Europe, and the only localisation work required will be to add on extra languages to the mobile app and platform, currently solely available in Russian and English. GTR has learned that Factorin has already held meetings with as-yet unnamed banks and lenders in the region, with aims to incorporate a new EU entity by this autumn.