HSBC, ING blockchain transaction points to future of trade finance

15 May 2018 12:29pm
Global lenders HSBC and ING have jointly completed an historic live trade on blockchain, in what is the world’s first such experiment with distributed ledger technology in banking, according to a statement released by HSBC.

The transaction involved a bulk of shipment of soybeans from Argentina to Malaysia for agribusiness giant Cargill, on whose behalf HSBC and ING issued digitized letters of credit using a custom-built blockchain platform.

The trade marks the first time blockchain has been used to upend the centuries-old banking problem of paper-based documentation, in a development seen as eventually transforming the multitrillion-dollar trade finance business. It is also one of the first real-world applications of blockchain in finance.

Blockchain, the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, reduced the time it took to complete the trade finance transaction cycle from four to five days to just 24 hours, the statement said.