Today Singapore headquartered Contour announced the addition of Commerzbank to its blockchain trade finance network, bringing the member count to 17 banks. The network digitizes Letters of Credit.
While Contour already had coverage in Germany through member banks BNP Paribas, HSCB, SEB, and Standard Chartered, it didn’t have a domestic German bank until now.
Commerzbank has been one of the leaders in another blockchain trade finance network Marco Polo, which like Contour, also uses the Corda enterprise blockchain. By joining the Contour network, the bank will support digital Letters of Credit for Singapore and Germany.
According to Contour, the time taken to process documents for Letters of Credit can be reduced from two weeks to a single day by using its trade finance blockchain.
Additionally, today it was announced that Contour would participate in a consortium led by VAKT that will oil digitize bills of lading for the Port of Singapore.
Contour recently launched the latest iteration of its blockchain solution, which supports shared nodes, reducing the cost of adoption. It also collaborates with the two main blockchain shipping networks, TradeLens and GSBN.
Seven global banks backed Contour at incorporation at the start of 2020: Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC, HSBC, ING, SEB, and Standard Chartered. Citi and SMBC joined the Series A+ funding in the middle of last year. In the last year, the network has added nine non-shareholder banks, including Commerzbank, Bank of China (HK), DBS Bank, Hang Seng Bank, ICBC, Vietnam’s MB Bank, Indonesia’s PermataBank, and Saudi’s SABB.
Confidence in trade finance platforms has been hit after multiple offerings closed down. June saw the shuttering of the we.trade blockchain trade finance network and Serai, a startup backed by HSBC. The bank was a member of we.trade and initially was the main driver behind Contour, funding some of the development before the company was incorporated.
It prompted Contour CEO Carl Wegner to issue a statement outlining Contour’s strengths, including the fact that it targets a mainstream trade finance tool in Letters of Credit rather than a novel trade finance tool.