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HSBC, ING conduct trade finance transaction using R3's Corda blockchain platform
14 May 2018, 11:00 | Hattie Nash
HSBC makes major blockchain breakthrough
The transaction was the first scalable live trade finance carried out via the blockchain technology which was an end-to-end trade involving a buyer and a seller and their supportive banks that was performed on a shared digital application instead of using several systems.
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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The transaction demonstrates that blockchain as a solution to trade digitisation, is commercially and operationally viable.
Working with R3, the banks from all over the world tested trading using blockchain and cloud technology.
"This is an inflection point for how trade is conducted".
"The reason why letters of credit have persisted is because of two real challenges - the absence of digital infrastructure and the challenge of coordinating multiple parties", Vivek Ramachandran, global head of innovation and growth at HSBC's commercial banking unit told Reuters. Speaking further, he said that "With blockchain, the need for paper reconciliation is removed because all parties are linked on the platform and updates are instantaneous". Importers and exporters use LoCs to finance their transactions but the process takes between five and 10 days and creates a lengthy paper trail. Since then, banks have invested millions developing blockchain applications in a bid to cut costs and help simplify their back-office processes - such as the settlement of securities trade.
The blockchain distributed ledger technology, which underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, has the potential to be used for encrypted and unhackable record-keeping across a number of industries. Letters of credit are a form of guarantee by a bank that payment for a transaction will be received.
R3, along with supporting banks, is now looking to expand the use of the network as a utility for the trade finance sector.
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