The Voltron blockchain platform for digitising trade finance documents, which launched at Sibos 2018 in Sydney last October with R3 and eight banks as founder members, has now seen more than 50 banks and corporates join.
The Voltron initiative, built on R3’s Corda blockchain platform, uses blockchain technology to accelerate the time taken to execute the process of paper-based Letters of Credit (LCs) from five to 10 days to less than 24 hours. Ninety-six per cent of participants in the trial said Voltron will accelerate their LC process, improve efficiencies and reduce cost.
Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC Holding, HSBC, ING, NatWest, SEB and Standard Chartered, which joined at inception have worked with R3 on extensive trials, using real-world scenarios, for additional functionality. They include the simulation of multiple digital Letter of Credit (LC) transactions across 27 countries on six continents.
A series of successful live transactions on Voltron in late 2018 and early 2019 demonstrated the improved speed and reliability of the permissioned network for LCs.
Participants in the latest six week trial include ABN Amro, Alfa Bank, Banco de Crédito del Perú-BCP, Banorte, Bci, China Everbright Bank Hong Kong Branch, Commercial International Bank (CIB), Commerzbank Commercial Bank of Qatar, Ekman & Co, LH Trading, MUFG, Natixis, National Bank of Egypt, Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Saudi British Bank (SABB), Scylla, Standard Bank, Société Générale and The Saudi British Bank.
The trial was delivered via a partnership of Bain, CryptoBLK and R3 on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform.
“The trial has been a great collaboration between banks and corporates, R3 and CryptoBLK and it ensures a better understanding of the possibilities and benefits of Voltron: the end-to-end digitisation of LCs,” said Chris Sunderman, blockchain initiative lead trade finance at ING.
“This will help in broadening the support base of Voltron and it will grow a larger and geographically well spread network of banks to adopt it, enabling an increased number of transactions in the production phase.”
In March it was reported that founding member HSBC was seeking prospective banking partners in South Korea to deploy the Voltron platform in that country. HSBC recently used Voltron in a live LC transaction for two of its clients, where Australian firm Fox & Lillie sent a shipment of wool from to China SDIC International Trade Nanjing Company.
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A letter of credit transaction between Australia and China used the trade finance platform, which officially launched last October.
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