we.trade CEO Ciaran McGowan
we.trade CEO Ciaran McGowan. Fora

The blockchain-enabled trade network, we.trade, revealed their joint efforts with IBM. The mutual project aims to accomplish network improvement and advancement of the platform’s worldwide popularization. Besides that, IBM is now a proud shareholder on the platform, in addition to the other 12 current bank shareholders.

The innovative digital platform, where European businesses and banks collaborate to create a transparent, secure environment, also supports developing firms in widening their market outreach. we.trade’s momentum has continued building up over the last couple of months, as organizations persist on digitizing their paper-based finance processes.

That platform has also announced that it will expand its services to even more banks in Europe, beginning July 2020. Furthermore, the network is planning a global expansion that will commence in Asia. we.trade will carry on to interoperate with other distributed ledger-based trade finance networks such as eTradeConnect, the blockchain-based trade platform created by 12 Asian banks in Hong Kong.

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Economic recovery after the COVID-19 global pandemic will need better access to trade finance. After the disruption that many trade finance-related services faced, we see a push for the digitization of global trade. This includes adopting platforms that provide digitized services of once manual business mechanisms.

we.trade’s CEO, Ciaran McGowan, was satisfied with the project’s progress:

“No other distributed-ledger based platform for trade has moved so rapidly to deliver value for member organisations and their customers. The enthusiasm for this platform underscores the need to continue to invest and expand access to a growing number of organisations.”

The success of we.trade is no coincidence, as it is built on the most recent version of IBM’s blockchain platform and backed by a number of the largest banks such as Deutsche Bank, Santander, HSBC, Société Générale, CaixaBank, Erste Group, UniCredit, KBC, Nordea, Rabobank, and UBS. The people behind we.trade want to work on a network that simplifies cross-border trading and connects banks, insurers, buyers, and sellers.

The platform started with nine banks in January 2017 and provides reliability, integrity, and security to global trade transactions across trade finance, logistics, and insurance. The platform helps in automating trade finance processes, and provides access to insurance, credit rating, and logistics services. The network allows traders to manage the order-to-payment process, attain financing, initiate orders, and search the network for trading partners.

Entering new markets was selected as one of the biggest motivating factors to join an existing blockchain network in a survey by the IBM Institute for Business Value. At the same time 64% of participants thought that reducing friction in current processes and services is a vital reason to use blockchain technology. 

IBM’s General Manager, Blockchain Services, Jason Kelley, noted:

“The strategic direction for we.trade and IBM is focused on driving growth and transparency across the entire trade ecosystem, collaborating to enhance the network effect of blockchain, and expanding access to trade finance and other services to the market place. Innovative technology and new pricing structures will help more banks align with internal production controls using their choice of cloud services. Meanwhile we.trade aims to help banks create new trusted trade corridors and expand markets by interconnecting with other regional trade services platforms.”

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