HSBC and ING Execute Live Trade Finance Transaction on Blockchain Platform - Global Trade Magazine
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  May 21st, 2018 | Written by

HSBC and ING Execute Live Trade Finance Transaction on Blockchain Platform

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  • Transaction demonstrates that blockchain is commercially and operationally viable for trade digitization.
  • Block chain can replace conventional exchanges for paper-based documentation related to letters of credit.
  • Letters of credit exchange using taking as long as ten days was done in 24 hours.

HSBC and ING Bank have successfully executed a live trade finance transaction for international food and agriculture conglomerate Cargill using R3’s Corda scalable blockchain platform.

The blockchain transaction involved a bulk shipment of soybeans from Argentina, through Geneva’s trading arm of Cargill, to Malaysia, through Cargill’s Singapore subsidiary as the purchaser. A Letter of Credit was issued using Corda by HSBC to ING. The two banks were acting on behalf of the Cargill entities.

The transaction demonstrates that blockchain as a solution to trade digitization, is commercially and operationally viable. Conventional exchanges for paper-based documentation related to letters of credit usually take between five to ten days. This exchange was done in 24 hours.

The letter-of-credit transaction was an end-to-end trade between a buyer and a seller and their respective banking partners, completed on a single shared application rather than multiple systems.

“What this means for businesses is that trade finance transactions have been made simpler, faster, more transparent and more secure,” said Vivek Ramachandran, HSBC’s head of growth and innovation. “The need for paper reconciliation is removed because all parties are linked on the platform and updates are instantaneous. The quick turnaround could mean unlocking liquidity for businesses.”

“Cargill believes blockchain can help our company nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. Therefore, it’s a key technology we are exploring and using with our own customers and, now, using for ourselves with the completion of this transfer on Corda,” explained Rani Misra, Regional Treasurer, APAC, Cargill. “Simply put, we took a highly manual, complex transaction and made it more secure and efficient. We see the exciting potential of extending this technology into other areas of our financial ecosystem.”

R3 and the group of 12 banks supporting the Corda application are seeking to expand the network on an open basis to drive adoption across the industry. They welcome engagement from banks and other ecosystem participants.