The initiative, called Marco Polo (www.marcopolo.finance) comprised of a group of the world’s leading banks, together with trade finance technology specialist TradeIX and enterprise software firm R3, are piloting their trade finance solution leveraging distributed ledger technology following a successful proof-of-concept.
Following its launch in 2017, the initiative, has attracted significant interest from the global banking community, with additional banks including Standard Chartered, joining in recent months.
The Marco Polo initiative has developed a solution for post-shipment trade financing powered by the TiX platform from TradeIX and R3 Corda blockchain technology. It enables end-to-end, real-time, seamless connectivity between trade participants, eliminating the data silos which prevent free flow of information causing inefficiencies and discrepancies.
Initially the solution is focused on three distinct areas of trade finance: risk mitigation by provision of payment commitments based on the matching of trade data, payables finance, and receivables finance. It will be delivered via TradeIX’s TIX Platform, an open platform providing applications, technology tools and core infrastructure for the trade finance ecosystem.
The collective ambition is to expand the initiative in 2018 to include additional banks and third party service providers, such as credit insurers, ERP and logistics providers, leveraging the collaborative nature of the platform to create a fully interoperable open-sourced trade finance network.
Michael Vrontamitis, Head of Trade, Europe & Americas, Standard Chartered said: “The age of digital collaboration in trade finance has arrived and we see our participation in this initiative as an important component to accelerate this and drive financing deeper into global supply chains. This in turn enables greater avaibility of financing for small and medium enterprises.”
Connie Leung, Senior Director, Financial Services Business Lead – Asia, Microsoft said: “Heavy paper processing across complex supply chain processes are a significant burden to businesses. The industry has been looking for solutions to simplify and digitize trade, making supply chain ripe for the benefits of blockchain technology.” Yorke Rhodes III, Azure Blockchain Engineering, Microsoft added: “It is exciting to be part of the growing ecosystem building trade finance solutions on blockchain. Microsoft is honoured to be providing our global scale cloud as a foundation to R3 and TradeIX to speed this solution to market.”