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Major banks announce commodity trade finance blockchain

commodities

Today a consortium of 15 banks and commodity traders announced a new consortium targeting trade finance for commodities. Investors in the ‘komgo’ platform are ABN Amro, BNP Paribas, Citi, CréditAgricole Groupe, Gunvor, ING, Koch Supply & Trading, Macquarie, Mercuria, MUFG Bank, Natixis, Rabobank, Shell, SGS and Societe Generale. Komgo is based in Geneva.

Since last year ING, ABN Amro and Societe Generale worked together on a similar platform they called Easy Trading Connect. The core team behind Easy Trading Connect has joined komgo.

“The potential that distributed ledger technologies (DLT) have in transforming the commodities sector is clear as evidenced with the success of the Easy Trading Connect experiments,” said Toon Leijtens, CTO of komgo SA, formerly of ING. “We can now achieve a long-term ambition to improve security and operational efficiency in the commodity trade finance sector”.

Komgo isn’t the only one targeting this sector. UK start up VAKT aims to be ‘a digital ecosystem for physical post-trade processing’. It has nine shareholders, seven of which are shareholders in komgo. The only two missing are BP and Equinor. The three banks that backed VAKT are the same three behind Easy Trading Connect.

One of the press statements said: “Due to a strong overlap of shareholders between komgo SA and VAKT, incorporated in 2017 to develop a blockchain based post-trade processing platform for commodities, the two companies will explore synergies between both platforms moving forward.”

Products

At launch later in the year there are plans for two products. The first is a know your customer (KYC) compliance solution. And the second is a digital Letter of Credit which will allow commodity houses to submit digital trade documents. Two of the banks, ING and BNP Paribas, are part of R3’s Voltron consortium for Letters of Credit.

Technology

SGS is a co-investor and will be the sole testing, inspection, and certification representative. The komgo blockchain platform is being developed in association with ConsenSys and hence will use Ethereum’s technology. Several of these banks are members of the R3 consortium.

“We are now entering a new era of simple and inclusive access to blockchain technology to advance stronger, more collaborative, business relationships previously out of reach,” said Joseph Lubin, CEO of Consensys. “We are thrilled to see leading commodity trade finance banks and commodity houses come together to create komgo SA, which will radically simplify and accelerate trustworthiness, auditability, and accessibility to trade financing across the industry.”

The purpose of the platform is to reduce the risk of fraud, counterfeiting and human error. By sharing data less time will be spent processing documents and reconciling, and the transaction process will be faster.


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