Marco Polo prepares for DLT trade finance pilot

Global banking initiative Marco Polo is to pilot a distributed ledger technology (DLT) trade finance solution, following a successful proof of concept.

Marco Polo was launched last year by trade finance technology firm TradeIX and blockchain consortium R3, together with a group of global financial institutions including BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING, Standard Chartered, DNB and OP Financial Group.

The initiative has developed a solution for post-shipment trade financing powered by TradeIX’s TiX platform and R3’s Corda blockchain technology. The platform enables real-time connectivity between trade participants, removing the data silos which prevent the free flow of information – causing inefficiencies and discrepancies.

The ambition is to expand the initiative in 2018 to include additional banks and third party service providers, in order to create a fully interoperable open-source trade finance network.

Jacques Levet, head of transaction banking EMEA at BNP Paribas, said: “We see the proof of concept as an important milestone in this project. The fact that more banks have joined also illustrates the interest in this project and in the potential of DLT in supply chain finance solutions.”

Head of innovation at ING Wholesale Banking, Ivar Wiersma, noted: “The tests ING ran as part of the proof of concept enabled us to see the value this solution could deliver in three separate areas of trade financing. The technology ran fast and smoothly and the positive results showed us we are on the right track and ready to take the next step by entering into a pilot.”

Michael Vrontamitis, head of trade, Europe and Americas at Standard Chartered, added: “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 availability of financing for small and medium enterprises.”

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