The number of blockchain consortia is on the rise, but the latest one has a particular focus: SMEs.
Reports Wednesday (June 28) said seven top banks in Europe have joined together to explore use cases for blockchain and specifically how the technology can enable domestic and cross-border payments for SMEs.
Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and Unicredit announced the Digital Trade Chain Consortium, which is using IBM blockchain technology, choosing the company after what reports said was a “competitive bidding process.” The solution created by the consortium will run on IBM Cloud technology and aims to interconnect all parties involved in a transaction, both online and via mobile devices, reports said.
Keith Bear, vice president for global financial services at IBM, said he expects other FIs to join the consortium in 2018, which will continue to focus on Europe.
“To make the Digital Trade Chain network a reality and enable it to serve potentially thousands of the consortium’s banking clients, we turned to IBM in enterprise blockchain to help us quickly bring this highly scalable system into production,” said KBC CIO Rudi Peeters, speaking on behalf of the consortium, reports said. “Their blockchain and banking industry expertise will help us create a new platform for small and medium businesses in Europe that can enable them for faster, easier and cheaper trade transactions.”
The group will aim to develop a solution into which SMEs can connect and access a streamlined view of their transactions. The platform will also look to support SMEs when they want to begin trading with new partners across Europe and digitize the supply chain process via electronic documentation and data.
KBC reportedly developed a proof of concept last year, but Bear noted that a working solution will take time.
“In working with hundreds of clients around the world on a diverse range of blockchain projects, trade finance has emerged as one of the strongest use cases for the technology,” said IBM Blockchain General Manager Marie Wieck. “By addressing the SME market, which faces challenges in data sharing and access to capital, the Digital Trade Chain Consortium is pioneering a unique blockchain solution with the potential for widespread impact.”