HSBC Achieves Blockchain Shipment Transaction Success

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Using the Corda blockchain platform, HSBC issued a letter of credit to Dutch bank ING, with both banks acting on behalf of Cargill entities.

HSBC Holdings Plc completed a transaction using blockchain which it said shows the technology is commercially viable for trade finance.

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 worldwide trade.

According to news source GTR, the transaction was carried out using a letter of credit tool within R3's distributed ledger technology (DLT) platform Corda.

Traditionally, the time required for exchanging documents in trade finances is five to 10 days. It included a shipment of soybeans from Argentina to Malaysia via Cargill's subsidiaries in Geneva and Singapore.

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"Going from that PoC in 2016, we're at the tipping point of getting our customers involved in live transactions in the coming weeks and months". "With blockchain, the need for paper reconciliation is removed because all parties are linked on the platform and updates are instantaneous". HSBC's trade on the blockchain was completed in 24 hours. Since then, banks have invested millions developing blockchain applications in a bid to cut costs and help simplify their back-office processes - such as the settlement of securities trade.

This Cargill transaction breakthrough provides a ray of hope for trade finance and if more efforts are put into consolidating on the achievement made so far, there is the possibility that trade finance could shift from the traditional method to a blockchain technology-driven one in no distant time.

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

R3, along with supporting banks, is now looking to expand the use of the network as a utility for the trade finance sector.

"It is critical to understand what blockchain is and what it is capable of today, compared to how it will transform companies, industries and society tomorrow", said David Furlonger, vice-president and Gartner fellow.

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