HSBC Completes World's First Blockchain Trade Finance Transaction

HSBC, ING conduct trade finance transaction using R3's Corda blockchain platform

HSBC makes major blockchain breakthrough

HSBC said on Monday it has made what it claims is the world's first commercial trade-finance transaction using blockchain. The letter backed a shipment of soybeans transported last week from Argentina to Malaysia, said HSBC in a statement reported by Bloomberg.

Vivek Ramachandran, the head of innovation at HSBC Global described the successful blockchain transaction as an inflection point for trade. Blockchain supporters believe that this technology can be successfully implemented across a variety of different spheres like trade finance, health care and insurance, bringing significant benefits and positive changes.

The companies exchanged the information needed for the letter of credit in 24 hours, the banks 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.

HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA.L) said on Monday it has performed the world's first trade finance transaction using a single blockchain platform, in a push to boost efficiency in the multi-trillion-dollar funding of worldwide trade.

Blockchain is the underlying distributed ledger technology that powers Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies (see WikiTribune reporting).

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The news provides further fuel to the debate that promotes blockchain as a solution to modernising modern finance and trade, many of which still rely on outdated computer platforms, or even paper-based systems.

Putting all of Asia Pacific's trade-related paperwork into electronic form could slash the time it takes to export goods by up to 44 percent and cut costs by up to 31 percent, the HSBC statement said, citing a study by the United Nations. "The quick turnaround could mean unlocking liquidity for businesses", added he.

ING has also been heavily involved in the trade-based developments on blockchain technology.

R3, along with supporting banks, is now looking to expand the use of the network as a utility for the trade finance sector. Thanks to blockchain, all operations and transactions can become faster, simpler, more secure and more transparent which is extremely needed.

Corda is supported by 12 banks, and it seems an effective backup to expand the technology broadly in the global market.

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