we.trade: the first blockchain platform for international trade
Today, companies are mainly using documentary credits to secure and finance international trade transactions. While documentary credits offer unrivalled advantages, with a balanced and trusted relationship between buyer and seller, they also have a number of disadvantages. Because they are based on the verification of paper documents, processing them takes time, often more than is needed to transport the merchandise. Furthermore, processing costs mean that prices are difficult to reduce and are too high for small transactions. Finally, taking full advantage of them requires a level of expertise which is difficult for companies to maintain.
They are therefore only rarely used in transactions between European SMEs, forcing companies to take the risk of making advance payments or shipments, or even to give up commercial opportunities which they deem uncertain and risky.
One year ago, a group of major international banks teamed up to develop a new solution to address this need, using the possibilities offered by blockchain technologies (sending and securing data rather than documents). In just a few months, an offer was designed, a technology supplier selected (IBM), a solution developed, and governance defined for the company which will own, operate and distribute the solution to banks. We.trade was created through the cooperation of Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Unicredit, and Societe Generale, recently joined by Santander and Nordea.
The solution will initially be available to customers of these banks, which cover the main Western European countries. The project is being managed with a pragmatic, agile approach, with the delivery of a “minimum viable product” which will be improved continuously over time, with the extension of the functional and geographic scope. Want more information? Interested in offering the we.trade solutions to your corporate customers? Contact us!