Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Groundbreaking HSBC blockchain transaction to revolutionize trade

HSBC Says Performs First Trade Finance Transaction Using Blockchain HSBC, ING conduct trade finance transaction using R3's Corda blockchain platform
Laurie Berry | 15 May, 2018, 14:55

Banks worldwide have become increasingly interested in blockchain technology and now HSBC has announced that it has completed the world's first trade finance transaction using a single blockchain platform.

HSBC used the Corda blockchain platform, which it developed in partnership with a number of other banks such as ING, BNP Paris and State Street, with the technology side provided by consortium R3 and Finastra.

While there have been several instances of proof-of-concept transactions performed using the blockchain, this one between HSBC and ING is the first that indicates its commercial applications, a spokesperson said to CNBC.

"What this means for businesses is that trade-finance transactions have been made simpler, faster, more transparent and more secure", Vivek Ramachandran, HSBC's head of growth and innovation, said in the statement.

A transaction of this kind would normally take between five and ten days for the full exchange of documents, HSBC said.

It was an end-to-end transaction that was carried out on a shared digital application between the buyer, seller, and the banks involved. He pointed out that blockchain technology eliminates the need for paper reconciliation because all parties are on one platform and updates are handled instantly.

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What's more, the Blockchain platform used is already being supported by 12 banks, who are working with R3 and their partners to continue the development to bring the platform to market more broadly.

Earlier this year ING also touted a similar cross-border soybean deal that was completed using blockchain technology.

Trade finance transactions are large payments, often global, that traditionally require many participants, lots of paper and many couriers. This consortium now holds more than 100 different banks, trade associations, and regulators.

Blockchain is the digital technology which underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. R3 is now working with a consortium of banks to determine blockchain solutions for a range of issues.

HSBC said putting all of Asia Pacific's trade-related paperwork onto the blockchain like this could cut the time of exporting goods by up to 44% and cut costs by up to 31%.

According to HSBC, the transaction can be replicated.

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