Trade finance moves toward digitization
Trade finance has long been in need of a move way from paper documentation. With a number of digital solutions based around distributed ledger technology (DLT) in development the foundations look to be in place.
R3, the blockchain-focused consortium of banks and tech developers, has developed an app on its DLT Corda platform focused on trade finance. The app will work in the same way as standard letters of credit, in recognition of how effective these are at mitigating risks.
It was developed with a specific test group of 12 mainly Asian and European banks, including Bangkok Bank, HSBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, and Mizuho.
The banks are now looking to pilot the app with clients, and hope to make it widely available from 2018.
The app development group includes tech platform CGI, which was able to bring in its own trade finance domain knowledge and work with the banks to capture the best generic industry practice for implementation within the app, and design the user interface.
The app is designed to cover the full trade ecosystem, extending to shippers and carriers. It allows parties in the chain to validate the details when they are both onboard and deliver the goods. The app works across multiple platforms, to reach as many participants as possible.
Jerry Norton, vice-president, financial services, at banking services provider CGI, says it has the interoperability to link with another blockchain platform to support carrier connectivity and bills of lading.