Today Global eTrade Services (GeTS) announced the launch of the Open Trade Blockchain (OTB). In fact, it’s been running for four weeks. The platform benefits from an existing large-scale digital trade platform, and owners that can help it grow.
GeTS is owned by CrimsonLogic which provides eGovernment services. In turn, CrimsonLogic is 55% owned by government agency Enterprise Singapore and 45% by the PSA which runs the Singapore Port. However, PSA also has interests in ports around the world. Most of its terminals are in Asia, but it has multiple European terminals, for example at Antwerp and Zeebrugge ports.
Given the most significant competitor is the IBM/Maersk project, that reach is relevant.
Both projects are permissioned networks based on Hyperledger Fabric.
The project aims to prevent fraud by putting the digital trade documentation onto their blockchain. This includes Certificates of Origin, Bills of Lading and invoices. Once the documents are on the blockchain, they can’t be tampered with because multiple different parties store copies. Hence there’s increased transparency and trust between shippers, freight-forwarders, and customers.
The system includes a user-friendly interface to make it simpler to add documents. Additionally, there’s a web API for integration.
One of the biggest challenges with blockchain is getting sufficient partners on board to make sure the data doesn’t become another silo. So far there are four nodes in action, with three external to GeTS and all in China.
The China-ASEAN Information Harbor Co (CAIH) hosts one of the nodes. CAIH is a strategic partnership between China and ASEAN authorities. The organization aims to build a “Digital Silk Road”.
Even if Hyperledger segregates data into private channels, Western partners might be less comfortable with perceived government access to information.
GeTS also named multiple new partners who are coming on board in Korea, Indonesia, and Taiwan. Hence there’s a spread of nodes in Asia. Most of the partners provide trade-related IT services.
Link to existing systems
The OTB blockchain is one part of a bigger system. So the blockchain simply stores the documentation but sits on top of the GeTS system for digital trade. This means it can take advantage of existing integrations including links to 24 Customs nodes. The business model is SaaS.
“One year ago, we successfully launched GeTS, and it amassed more than 10 million transactions in the first year of operation. Today, GeTS is now conducting more than 13 million transactions and recorded a Gross Merchandised Value (GMV) of more than $400 billion for the first half of 2018,” said Mr Eugene Wong, Chairman of CrimsonLogic and GeTS.
“We believe that our Blockchain technology can help create greater trust amongst cross-border traders in ASEAN and along China’s BRI and Southern Transport Corridor. Trade volume between ASEAN and China would become the single largest transaction [volume] between two regions and we hope to facilitate this.”
Mr Li Heng, Vice President, China-ASEAN Information Harbor Co., Ltd said: “We are very pleased to join the OTB platform. This connectivity will definitely help strengthen the transparency and trust of the trade activities from China to ASEAN through the Southern Trade Corridor and the Belt & Road initiative.”