Banking News

ABN AMRO, BMW, SBI in 70-firm blockchain trial on Marco Polo trade finance network

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Yesterday, the Marco Polo trade finance network completed an open account trade finance trial with 70 organizations using its blockchain platform.

The joint project took place over seven weeks involving participants from multiple sectors including financial services, IT and telecoms, logistics, maritime, real estate, hospitality and the automotive industry.

The trial focused on the receivables discounting solution offered by the Marco Polo platform and currently available for production use. In the announcement, the network claimed it was the biggest trial conducted on R3’s Corda network, which underpins Marco Polo.

Additionally, some stakeholders were able to use actual business data, enabling a better understanding of the real-world impact of using the Marco Polo platform.

Meanwhile, the trial saw some new participants engaging with the Marco Polo Network. These included ABN AMRO, Banorte, BMW, Citizens Bank, International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, SBI, Steelforce, Sumitomo Corporation, the Bank of East Asia and HSBC affiliate Saudi British Bank. The current bank members are listed below.

“The participation of ABN AMRO in this trial demonstrates our belief that new technologies together with cocreation in cross-industry ecosystems will shape innovation in the financial and trade system,” said Marjan van der Plas from ABN AMRO.

“This was a valuable collective learning and development effort together with peers, business partners and clients.” The Dutch bank is also a participant in the komgo trade finance platform.

Marco Polo specializes in open account trade finance solutions. It’s likely that during the trial, companies would have uploaded trade invoices onto the platform. However, the solution also integrates with ERP systems and currently supports Microsoft Dynamics 365, Xero, and Oracle Netsuite.

So for production use, instead of uploading invoices, the billing can be pulled directly from the ERP platform, and the treasurer potentially can choose which banks to work with.

“The Marco Polo Network will change the traditional bank-corporate relationship in an innovative way to make the real multi-bank platform happen,” said Munetoshi Yamada, Head of Business Development, SBI Holdings & SBI R3 Japan.

Marco Polo is built on R3’s Corda technology, and TradeIX is the technology provider.

During the trial, TradeIX ran a survey and said: “100% of respondents believe that Marco Polo will accelerate and improve the receivables discounting process, and reduce costs for both banks and corporates, with 75% believing this will happen within five years.”

The full list or Marco Polo members include Alfa Bank, Anglo Gulf Trade Bank, Bank of America, Bangkok Bank, Bayern LB, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Bradesco, Commerzbank, Credit Agricole, Danske Bank, DNB, Helaba, ING, Intesa Sanpaolo, LBBW, Mastercard, MUFG, National Bank of Fujairah, National Australia Bank, Natixis, Natwest, OP Financial, Raiffeisen Bank, SMBC, S-Servicepartner, Standard Bank, and Standard Chartered.