HSBC deal shows blockchain viable for trade finance

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According to a CNBC report, the USA food and agriculture firm Cargill made use of the trade finance transaction, which was essentially a letter of credit, to cover the shipment of bulk soybeans to Malaysia from Argentina. It included a shipment of soybeans from Argentina to Malaysia via Cargill's subsidiaries in Geneva and Singapore.

HSBC reported the transaction demonstrates that blockchain as a solution to trade digitization, is commercially and operationally viable.

"At the moment, buyers and suppliers use a letter of credit, typically concluded by physically transferring paper documents, to underpin transactions". Unlike previous trade finance deals that used blockchain in the past, this was the first time a single shared digital application was employed as opposed to multiple systems. This exchange was done in 24 hours.

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The British-based bank, which has its roots in China and Hong Kong, says it issued a letter of credit for American food and agriculture firm Cargill, to Dutch-owned ING. He pointed out that blockchain technology eliminates the need for paper reconciliation because all parties are on one platform and updates are handled instantly. The success could pave the way for a blockchain-based trade financing utility.

According to a report on Bloomberg, HSBC Holdings Plc has successfully carried out a trade finance transaction with the use of the blockchain technology indicating that the doubt over the use of the technology for trade finance should be laid to rest.

According to the United Nations, digitizing all of the Asia-Pacific region's trade-related paperwork could slash the time it takes to export goods by up to 44%, cutting costs by up to 31% and boosting exports by as much as $257 billion a year. It hopes the technology will mean trade finance deals can be made simpler, quicker, more transparent and more secure.

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The announcement is excellent news not only for the bank but also for the companies involved in worldwide trade finance.

Ramachandran said HSBC already had another client lined up for the next similar transaction.

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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