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

Leading banking and financial services organization HSBC on Monday announced that it has conducted the world’s first trade finance transaction using blockchain technology, Reuters reported.

In collaboration with Dutch bank ING, HSBC said that it has successfully completed the transaction for food and agriculture conglomerate Cargill. The trial used R3’s Corda blockchain platform to finance a shipment of soya from Argentina to Malaysia.


Existing letters of credit process are largely paper based and take between five and 10 days to exchange documentation. Blockchain technology has the potential to enhance the efficiency by reducing the risk of fraud, while cutting down the number of steps in the process.

Referring to a study by the United Nations, HSBC said that switching to an electronic system could reduce the time it takes to export goods by up to 44 percent and lower costs by up to 31 percent.

“At the moment, buyers and suppliers use a letter of credit, typically concluded by physically transferring paper documents, to underpin transactions,” said Vivek Ramachandran, global head of innovation and growth at HSBC’s commercial banking unit. “What this means for businesses is that trade finance transactions have been made simpler, faster, more transparent and more secure.”

ING is one of the core members of Marco Polo, an initiative focused on a trade finance platform built on an interoperable business network powered by open Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and blockchain technology. In March 2018, the initiative announced that it is piloting a trade finance solution leveraging distributed ledger technology (DLT) following a successful a successful proof-of-concept.

By Shampa Mani
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