Banking News

Letter of Credit blockchain launches with eight banks

trade container ship

Today sees the official launch of Voltron, the Letter of Credit blockchain platform. The system will go into production on R3’s Enterprise Corda in 2019. The eight founding members are Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC Holding, HSBC, ING, NatWest, SEB and Standard Chartered.

Back in May Voltron ran a successful pilot transaction with Cargill. The group says it’s now in active discussions with a number of corporates.

The primary aim is to digitalize the Letter of Credit (LC) paperwork process and create efficiencies by sharing that data using digital ledger technology (DLT) between corporates, their trading partners, and banks. Hence banks can make faster financing decisions, and there’s far less reconciliation between companies and their trading partners.

Jim Bidwell, Head of Trade Services Product Management at NatWest commented: “Voltron will revolutionise the way LCs operate for both banks and their customers – transacting the LC on Corda with the potential for interoperability with other third-party platforms and services will offer the ability to transact LCs in a fraction of the current time and cost together with an array of value adding functionality.”

The system is used for issuing letters of credit and also exchanging trade documents which can be initiated externally and sent to and verified on Voltron.

Partners and ecosystem

The group says Voltron is working with four trade finance platforms to enable them to offer Voltron-enabled service to their bank and corporate customers. The system is already integrated with the Bolero Network, founded almost two decades ago by Swift and industry partners.

Standard Chartered is a relatively new addition to the founding group, but five banks that were previously mentioned are no longer mentioned. They are US Bancorp, Scotiabank, Mizuho, Intesa Sanpaolo, and BBVA.

That means there is only one North American bank included in the four major blockchain trade finance consortia, we.trade, Marco Polo, Voltron, and komgo. Citibank is participating in the komgo commodity trade finance initiative.

Voltron is inviting banks, technology partners, and corporates to join the network.


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