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Ethereum holds out the potential to serve as the commercial operating system for the globe. Launched only five years ago, Ethereum is rapidly emerging as the spine for a streamlined financial system where existing financial products can be structured and administered more efficiently. Despite the downturn in prices, Ethereum’s growth has accelerated over the past two years. We’ve seen the birth of stable coins, like DAI, and the threads of more advanced financial products like those provided by Dharma and Compound. Ethereum-based trading platforms are beginning to mature, like 0x and Uniswap, creating composable financial legal blocks that enable assets to flow more seamlessly between parties. And decentralized oracles like Chainlink are moving to mainnet, holding out the hope of inputting real-time data into commercial relationships and creating new, more efficient means of commercial transactions.
Traditional finance, of course, has noticed. An increasing number of banks and other “fintech” startups are exploring the use of blockchain technology through the issuance of their own stablecoins and a host of pilot programs ranging from J.P. Morgan’s stablecoin to SWIFT’s instant GPI payments.
The blockchain-world and traditional finance are on a collision course with new tools and approaches rapidly painting a picture of what a more democratized and streamlined financial system could look like — one that is more efficient, transparent, and resilient. Weiterlesen

KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Société Générale and UniCredit also signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Brussels.

Seven large banks are collaborating on a blockchain-based trade finance and supply chain platform called Digital Trade Chain (DTC), which aims to make domestic and cross-border commerce easier for European small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).

Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Société Générale and UniCredit have signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Brussels to build the DTC, which is based on a supply chain proof-of-concept originated by KBC.

DTC, which won the Efma Accenture Innovation Award for best new product or service of 2016 in October last year, is intended to seamlessly connect the parties involved in a trade transaction (buyer, buyer’s bank, seller, seller’s bank and transporter), online and via mobile devices, said a statement.

This new product would simplify trade finance processes for SMEs by addressing the challenge of managing, tracking and securing domestic and international trade transactions. Larger companies use documentary credit as a way of reducing the risks involved in doing business. However, documentary credit is not always suitable for SMEs or for companies that prefer open account solutions, wherein goods are shipped and delivered before payment is due, which is typically in 30, 60 or 90 days.

DTC would accelerate the order-to-settlement process and decrease administrative paperwork significantly. The platform’s end-to-end transparency would also give SMEs confidence to initiate trade with new partners in their home market or in other European markets, according to a statement.

The consortium would initially focus on building critical mass for DTC in seven European markets: Belgium and Luxembourg (KBC), France (Natixis, Société Générale), Germany (Deutsche Bank, UniCredit), Italy (UniCredit), the Netherlands (Rabobank) and the UK (HSBC).

Vivek Ramachandran, global head of product for HSBC’s trade finance business, has previously called for more collaboration among banks doing trade finance, and also other blockchain consortia looking at the space, such as R3 and IBM/Hyperledger.

He said: „I believe trade is the perfect use case for distributed ledger technology. You want transparency, verifiability, and immutability of agreements and information.

The last HSBC proof of concept was focused on the letter of credit. This project is focused on the open account space. Ramachandran explained that for a small company based in Europe (or anywhere else for that matter) trading internationally can be quite daunting and expensive.

„Trade can either be done over a letter of credit, which is complex and expensive and time consuming, or you can trade on open account which has a huge amount of risk, because either the buyer or the seller – one of the counterparties is bearing the risk at any point in time,“ he said.

Regarding the underlying technology, Ramachandran said: „The phrase ‚interoperability of ledgers‘ is used quite a lot and that’s hopefully where we will genuinely go to. You might well have a few different consortia working with different ledgers – as long as the ledgers can talk to each other.

The original KBC proof of concept was done using Ethereum. Asked whether R3’s Corda or Hyperledger fabric would likely host DTC blockchain nodes, he said, „actually we haven’t made that decision yet“.

Quelle: Deutsche Bank, HSBC and five other big banks collaborate on Digital Trade Chain

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Successful partnership is possible, under the right circumstances. Source: McKinsey

In May, McKinsey released a report of their latest findings and advice on potential improvements in banking and payments.

The report points out that the threat of disintermediation looming over banks can be neutralized through the implementation of judicious partnerships and white-labeling of technological products that update aging infrastructure.

“Third-party platforms are making it possible for banks, non-bank financial institutions, payments processors and other organizations to customize cross-border services in ways that go beyond the options offered by traditional correspondent banking arrangements. Ripple Labs, having developed a real-time, cross-border open payment protocol based on recent cryptocurrency technologies, is an example of these new types of third-party platforms. Such innovators allow financial institutions to streamline and improve the service levels and costs of critical steps in the correspondent banking infrastructure, such as message routing and settlement. The speed at which new entrants are evolving, as shown by Ripple’s recent partnership announcement with Earthport, increases the potential for a significant disruption within the industry.”

McKinsey goes on to outline the five criteria for successful partnerships in this sphere:

  • Clear partnership strategy. Both partners understand who the customer is and what they expect in terms of service upgrades.
  • Strategic fit of partnership strategy. Bother partners understand who the customer is and what they expect in terms of service upgrades.
  • Strategic fit of partners. Any relationship between partners must be predicated on trust and a “complementary footprint.”
  • Harmonized customer experience.
  • Integration between platforms and seamless processes on the customer side, resulting from shared governance and reporting on the business side.
  • Aligned incentives. Financial or operational incentives can help to align goals and visions between organizations.  

Download the full report.

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