TradeWaltz was founded in 2017 as a consortium of 18 major Japanese firms led by NTT Data, but became an independent entity in April of 2020. The platform recently received investment from seven companies, including Mitsubishi, Toyota Tsusho, and MUFG, bringing its capital to $20 million.
Trade involves dealing with many sensitive and high value documents such as bills of lading and letters of credit. Processing paperwork is time-consuming because the accuracy of the data has to be cross-checked. Different companies use different systems, which means each party has to translate the document for their own system. Additionally, physical documentation is subject to human error and fraud. TradeWaltz is addressing this by creating a distributed ledger to share trade documents and electronic data.
Through the platform, each version of a document is recorded and stored on the blockchain (or rather a fingerprint or has of the document). Therefore it can be traced back to the editor, which diminishes incentives for fraud. There was a 40% to 60% reduction in the time taken to share data in past trials. Unlike other solutions that often store pdfs off-chain, TradeWaltz uses structured document data that makes the documents far more accessible.
One of the main issues with blockchain initiatives is they’re only viable when both trading parties use the same blockchain platform. Interoperability is likely the permanent solution for the matter, however, it is still a work in progress. Suppose one of the entities involved in the trade does not use the TradeWaltz platform. In that case, the business on the network can print the paper documentation and send the accurate and standardized data to the other party in the conventional way. While this feature doesn’t fully resolve the hassles of paper documentation, it means companies can adopt digital transformation projects at different speeds.
Fujifilm Holdings’ TradeWaltz trial aims to promote the digital transformation (DX) of its global trade operations. The trial will encompass products from Fujifilm and Fuji Xerox, with FUJIFILM Logistics as the main participant along with logistics partners MOL Logistics and Maruzen Showa Unyu C. Depending on the trial results, the company may expand the implementation of the platform across more operations.
TradeWaltz initially wants to focus its efforts on expanding its outreach in Japanese trade with ASEAN countries. NTT Data is collaborating with Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry for regional trade connectivity. Furthermore, NTT Data envisions a franchise-like model for TradeWaltz where different apps can be built on top of the platform. It wants the technology to be interoperable with other solutions.