HSBC claims first trade transaction with blockchain

AP  Andre Penner

AP Andre Penner

The exchange was for a shipment of soybeans transported last week from Argentina to Malaysia.

HSBC used a platform called Corda, which was developed by the blockchain start-up R3, a New York-based firm that leads a consortium of over 200 firms to build and use blockchain technology.

"The transaction demonstrates that blockchain as a solution to trade digitization is commercially and operationally viable".

Similarly, it will take some time for every finance institution to settle on a single blockchain standard to conduct these transactions. This exchange was done in 24 hours.

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In collaboration with Dutch bank ING, HSBC said that it has successfully completed the transaction for food and agriculture conglomerate Cargill.

HSBC and ING said the technology is "perfect" for trade because it keeps an unchangeable log of the transaction and details of the products being bought or sold.

Analysts say that blockchain could make settling transactions much easier by eliminating or reducing the interoffice paper-shuffling traditionally required to clear a trade.

Despite their general hostility towards cryptocurrency industry, a growing number of banks have started embracing its underlying technology-the blockchain.

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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 global trade. "The quick turnaround could mean unlocking liquidity for businesses", HSBC's head of growth and innovation was quoted saying in a statement.

Experts have said that with blockchain being heavily decentralised, various parties are linked by computers accessing the same network, resulting in a digital ledger that could prove to be very useful for the banking sector. HSBC's pioneering use of blockchain shows the potential for this nascent technology to revolutionise many aspects of the financial sector beyond cryptocurrencies.

Banks have invested millions in developing blockchain applications in a bid to cut costs and simplify back office processes, such as the settlement of securities trades.

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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