According to a press release quoted by the Financial Times on Monday, HSBC, one of the largest banking institutions in the world by total assets, reported $250 billion in settled transactions in 2018, using the blockchain technology.
The press release revealed that during the last calendar year, HSBC settled over 3 million blockchain-based foreign exchange transactions. Performed through its blockchain platform, “FX Everywhere,” the bank says it has processed 150,000 payments since the platform launched in February 2018. HSBC completed its first blockchain trade finance transaction in May 2018.
At the time, the financial services group used the technology to issue a letter of credit to agriculture firm Cargill. The letter of credit covered the transportation of produce from Argentina to Malaysia. It was issued by Netherlands financier ING.
FX Everywhere Enhances HSBC
FX Everywhere helps with “orchestrating payments across HSBC’s internal balance sheets,” and the reports suggest that it saw heavy adoption over the last year. The company revealed that settlements were made easier with its proprietary blockchain-based platform. Amongst other things, platform ensured payment confirmations didn’t require additional protocols.
HSBC’s Other Blockchain Efforts
HSBC has been exploring various applications of blockchain technology over the past year. In October, it partnered with Standard Chartered, PNB Paribas and others, to finance a blockchain trade finance platform. Dubbed the “eTrade Connect,” HSBC launched the platform with the aim of improving the efficiency of international trade financing. To achieve this, the platform will cut the time required for the approval of trade loan applications from 36 to 4 hours.
Further Pans for DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology)?
Richard Bibbey, HSBC’s Acting Head of Foreign Exchange and Commodities, stated that the bank “currently hosts thousands of FX transactions.” He added that the integration of blockchain technology has made the process particularly smoother.
He said,“Following prosperous implementation inside the bank, we are now exploring how this technology could help multinational clients – who also have multiple treasury centers and cross-border supply chains – better manage foreign exchange flows within their organizations.”
Although the release didn’t cite the bank’s total payment volumes for last year, Bibbey revealed to Reuters that DLT’s $250 billion represented a small portion” of it. Nevertheless, this is a significant feat that highlights the benefits that come with the adoption of blockchain in the traditional banking sector.
Top 3 Japanese Bank to Roll Out Services on Marco Polo Blockchain
Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), Japan’s third-largest bank by total assets, will launch blockchain-based trade finance services in the second half of this year.
SMBC’s vice chairman Yasuyuki Kawasaki announced the news at a recent fintech seminar in Tokyo, saying that the bank will roll out new services for import and export companies using the Marco Polo trade finance blockchain platform, CoinDesk Japan reported Thursday.
Kawasaki said that, traditionally, trade finance is a “very complicated,” paper-based and time-consuming process. SMBC completed a proof-of-concept using the blockchain platform back in February, aiming to improve its trade operations. It said at the time that the platform “provides paperless, real-time connectivity and easier access.”
The Marco Polo network – built on blockchain software startup R3’s Corda platform – saw its first real-world transactions going live last month. The network was founded by R3 and trade finance specialist TradeIX.
The transactions took place between two German companies. One transaction involved the delivery of special hydraulic couplings from Germany to China and the other the delivery of pumps within Germany.
Since launching in 2017, the Marco Polo network has added some major financial institutions as members, including ING, BNP Paribas and Commerzbank, among others.
Announced this morning, BayernLB, Helaba and S-Servicepartner have also joined the Marco Polo network “for piloting and evaluating purposes.”
Daniel Cotti, managing director, Centre of Excellence for Banking and Trade for Marco Polo, said:
“Today, we have the resources and technology to transform the way banks serve their trade finance customers and enable easier access to credit, while minimizing risk and increasing transparency.”
Trade finance is increasingly being eyed as a beneficial use case for blockchain technology. Last July, another trade finance blockchain platform called– built on Hyperledger Fabric and with nine banks on board – went live.
Just yesterday, China’s forex regulator and manager, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE), said that it has developed a blockchain system aimed to address inefficiencies in cross-border trade finance. Pilots in three regions and two cities are now
Naturipe farms uses blockchain to track blueberries from harvest to table
Naturipe Farm, in collaboration with tech company SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service, will use blockchain to track Naturipe’s blueberries all the way from the point of harvesting to your dining table.
Carol McMillan, director of information technology at Naturipe Farms explained that the crates with berries are weighed, scanned and then sent to cold storage.
‘Moments after our produce is picked, the growers now place QR codes onto these crates. That QR code stays on those berries all the way to the store. Soon, by simply scanning the QR code with our smartphones, we’ll see proof of where the berries were grown and learn about the farm’s sustainability practices.’
With SAP’s blockchain technology, consumers and customers will have the possibility to easily access the complete origin and history of Naturipe Farms produce, simply by using their smartphones to scan a QR code on the product package.
‘Blockchain helps SAP customers track and trace goods across their entire supply chain by using SAP’s cloud platform blockchain services’, said Eric Somitsch, senior director of SAP Agribusiness.
‘Suppliers must use a provided code to enter their information into the blockchain. SAP’s blockchain captures that data and protects it with the world’s most stringent encryption security protocols.’
At present, most fruit is traced manually, using hand-written paperwork that accompanies the shipments.
‘Just in that process alone, there can be delays of up to four hours for an air shipment, up to two days for a boat shipment for a product to get cleared and go through customs’, Naturipe’s IT Director Carol McMillan added.
— Jan Musil (@janmusil) April 12, 2019
In the future, blockchain data can be used to make better decisions relating to production itself, she said.
‘Freshness is imperative to keep people healthy. We can use all the data input from weather patterns and harvest data to eventually better forecast the future.’
McMillan pointed out that currently, food supply chain stakeholders record their own product information and share only if necessary.
‘The goal with our new blockchain technology is to help create a system with higher trust and transparency that ultimately simplifies operations and reduces food waste’, she said.
‘By pioneering this technology with SAP, we are hoping to lead a movement in the produce industry that minimizes waste and promotes transparent sustainability practices.’
Blockchain art platform raises $2 million from Facebook, Coinbase, and more
A new digital art marketplace will make use of blockchain technology to ensure creators’ ownership. MakersPlace has just completed a seed funding round for $2 million (as reported byTechCrunch).
Uncork Capital has led the seed round, with investment also coming from Pinterest, Facebook, Coinbase and more. MakersPlace allows artists with limited knowledge of blockchain tech to easily fingerprint their works. They just need to provide photo ID, and an ERC-20 token will be generated for each work that they put on to the platform.
According to MakersPlace co-founder Dannie Chu, “millions of digital creators…are spending countless hours creating digital artwork, but they struggle with basic things like attribution…If you can’t create a sustainable model for digital creators to create, you’re not going to have art…People are actually valuing digital creations like physical creations”.
The work that is offered on the MakersPlace platform includes animation, photography, drawings, pixel art and 3D creations. They can be bought using regular payment methods as well as Ethereum (ETH), and MakersPlace takes a 15 percent cut of sales, similar to the model offered by hobbyist marketplace Etsy.