Today Crédit Agricole CIB and SEB unveiled a new public blockchain bond issuance platform, so|bond. It aims to improve efficiencies in the bond issuance process with a sustainable twist. The network isn’t targeting green bonds per se but aims to be eco-friendly in how it operates. It positions itself as an open platform that is only semi-permissioned compared to most bank bond platforms that are fully permissioned.
“The platform’s innovative approach, both to the blockchain infrastructure and to the securities market, is coupled with the strong commitment to green and sustainable finance that is at the centre of our Societal Project,” said Romaric Rollet, Head of Innovation and Digital Transformation at Crédit Agricole CIB.
So|bond offers the benefits we’ve come to expect from blockchain bond issuance platforms, including efficiencies in the issuance, administration and automation using smart contracts.
It’s a bit different under the hood. Some specialist public blockchains use the so-called Proof of Authority, where only known corporates manage nodes that write to the blockchain, but anyone has access to the blockchain. So|bond adopts a similar model it calls the Proof of Climate awaReness protocol, which has been adapted to incentivize node operators to minimize the carbon footprint of their node with a token, the Climate awaReness Coin.
“We see this as a great opportunity to learn what the future entails in terms of transparency, faster processing and operational simplifications, and will use a bond as the first stepping stone before expanding the use of the platform to other asset classes,” said Anna Sjulander of SEB.
IT provider Finaxys was the blockchain partner with SGS providing the sustainability audits based on a methodology developed with APL Data Center.
This is the latest blockchain corporate bond issuance platform, with numerous banks and securities providers offering solutions. In the last few months, Goldman Sachs and HSBC have launched bond issuance and digital asset platforms, joining others such as Societe Generale, Santander and ABN Amro. Meanwhile, UBS launched the largest digital bond via the SIX Digital Exchange.
In terms of public versus private blockchains, Siemens recently launched a €60 million public blockchain bond. And the solutions offered by Societe Generale, Santander and ABN Amro support public blockchain.