Friday, 17 August, 2018

HSBC claims first trade transaction with blockchain

AP  Andre Penner AP Andre Penner
Russell Knight | 15 May, 2018, 14:52

HSBC (HSBC) and ING (ING) on Monday said they have carried out the first live trade-finance transaction on a single blockchain platform. It included a shipment of soybeans from Argentina to Malaysia via Cargill's subsidiaries in Geneva and Singapore.

The deal was completed using the R3 Corda platform, which has been developed jointly by 12 of the world's leading banks, and raised $107 million from backers including HSBC back in May 2017. The incentive? HSBC sees blockchain as a solution to help boost efficiency in the multi-trillion-dollar funding of worldwide trade.

Vivek Ramachandran, the head of innovation at HSBC Global described the successful blockchain transaction as an inflection point for trade.

Normally, such transactions take five to 10 days to exchange documents. This exchange was done in 24 hours.

The NYSE- and LSE-listed banking and financial services organization has issued a letter of credit to the Dutch lender ING Groep NV (ADR) (ING) for the USA food and agriculture firm Cargill.

Although blockchain has most commonly been associated with person-to-person transactions using cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, there's been a huge amount of interest from businesses both big and small in adopting the technology for a wide variety of other purposes.

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According to professionals' estimation, putting all trade-related paper work of Asia Pacific onto the blockchain could help to reduce the time need for goods export by up to 44% and to cut costs by up to 31%.

Experts have said that with blockchain being heavily decentralised, various parties are linked by computers accessing the same network, resulting in a digital ledger that could prove to be very useful for the banking sector.

"It is only by working together that we will create a platform that all those involved in trade want to use, from banks, exporters and shippers to regulators and lawmakers".

Thailand's Central bank also announced a similar blockchain-based consortium involving some of the top banks in the country.

Ivar Wiersma, Managing Director, Innovation Wholesale Banking, ING, said: "It's exciting to see this transaction has been completed successfully with clear client benefits in speed and ease in execution".

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