Blockchain supply chain finance platform we.trade has seen its first bank transaction.
According to a Global Trade Review report, HSBC became the first bank to use the blockchain platform to execute a trade finance transaction, which occurred within the company’s second round of pilot tests that began in June.
The we.trade platform enables small businesses to find trading and service partners to transact online, access bank payment undertaking (BPU) from their banks (described by HSBC as “an online equivalent of a letter of credit”) and to allow B2B suppliers to request financing from their banks, which provide early payments by discounting that BPU.
“We’ve done a number of transactions. It’s a pilot,” said HSBC U.K. Head of Global Trade and Receivables Finance Ian Tandy in an interview with the publication. “This is the first transaction where we have had two buyers use the system end-to-end, including the ability to write the invoice, agree to trade terms, provide the BPU and additionally receive funding off the back of that BPU.”
HSBC corporate customer Beeswift and its corporate buyer in the Netherlands participated in the transaction. Use of the we.trade platform allowed Beeswift to complete its trade finance transaction within a day, rather than the average 10-12 days it traditionally takes, according to reports.
The bank pointed to the benefits of offering a “transparent and more intuitive” experience for businesses, though declined to say whether the platform would enable it to offer cheaper trade finance to business clients.
Earlier this year, we.trade hit a speed bump when its Co-founder and CEO Roberto Mancone quit and spoke publicly about his doubts about blockchain’s ability to fulfill expectations.
“I have not yet seen something that shows the ultimate benefit of this technology,” he said in April. “We are building solutions that are perceived as valuable by the providers of the solutions, not the users.”