Blockchain platforms see Covid-19 trade finance opportunity
The turmoil created by the coronavirus has given blockchain trade-finance platforms a boost, but many still seem to be talking in terms of potential, rather than actual, business done.
Distributed-ledger technology-based transactions are slowly becoming more commonplace in trade finance.
Last month, Turkey’s Isbank became the first financial institution in that country to use the technology for a trade-finance transaction, for instance.
An interesting emerging platform is Russian-based Factorin, which has processed transactions with a total value of approximately $600 million since it launched in June 2019.
Chief executive Andrei Maklin says Factorin now has more than 500 active users – including 31 banks and two of the top five retailers in Russia.
“So far, most of the companies using the platform are retailers,” he says, “but we are seeing a growing trend of companies from other sectors, particularly telecoms, oil and gas and metallurgy.”
Russian SMEs have been reluctant to use trade finance in the past due to the lengthy process of onboarding, high levels of rejection and unfavourable rates.
A survey conducted by Russia’s Association of Factoring Companies last year found that 94% of small businesses did not even consider applying for trade financing.
However, Maklin says perceptions are changing and that the company hopes to replicate its domestic growth across other markets with the launch of a pan-European platform.