On Friday, Spain’s CaixaBank announced it launched the we.trade blockchain trade finance solution for its business clients.
CaixaBank is the third-largest lender by market value in Spain and holds €387 billion ($432 billion) in assets as of 2018. It has operations in about 127 countries.
we.trade is a digital platform launched by nine founding banks — Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Nordea, Rabobank, Santander, Société Générale (SocGen) and UniCredit. These banks were joined by CaixaBank, Erste Bank, and UBS, bringing its shareholder count to 12. Eurobank was the first non-shareholder member that is not a subsidiary of an investor.
The solution is built on the IBM Blockchain Platform using Hyperledger Fabric and offers bank customers a simple user interface to monitor operations. we.trade primarily targets SMEs and micro-businesses providing open-account trade finance such as invoice financing to improve cash flow. Other services include bank payment undertaking, KYC of clients, real-time settlement between traders, and track and trace of traded goods.
The blockchain platform enables security and traceability of trade transactions. Smart contracts link the delivery of goods to the payment system. One of the features is real-time monitoring of trade transactions, allowing enterprises to manage their cash flow better.
“we.trade gives you a degree of certainty relating to payment after delivery and can eliminate a lot of worries for the future,” says Patrick Klijnjan, Managing Director at steni Benelux.
All of the investor banks, apart from Natixis, are currently in production as licensees. UniCredit is live in Germany as well as Italy. Nordea is in production in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway. And both Erste Bank and Rabobank have affiliates that have gone live, CSAS and CSOB respectively. The next launches are planned for March including Eurobank, SocGen Czech affiliate Komerční banka and Belgium’s CBC which is an affiliate of KBC.
we.trade’s initial emphasis on SMEs is unique amongst the big four trade finance platforms, komgo, the Letter of Credit platform (formerly Voltron), and the Marco Polo Network.
Update: Changes relate to banks currently in production and planning to launch