Blockchain

The Digital Trade Chain consortium’s trade finance project underscores important new use cases for blockchain

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This week’s announcement by the seven bank Digital Trade Chain Consortium is another strong indication that the “peak hype” discussions around blockchain are somewhat misplaced. This blockchain network to deliver a trade finance solution across Europe to support small and medium businesses stands out from the steady flow of other blockchain PoCs underway in several significant ways.

The network effect: This is a coming together of banks that normally compete with each other to agree upon the principles by which they will jointly own and launch a new blockchain based platform to address an important market. Small and mid-sized businesses in Europe, some 21 million in fact have generated 85% of employment growth in Europe in recent years – but only ~50% of them have access to formal credit – the other half having to pre-pay their way. The Digital Trade Chain is an example of how blockchain can bring the required trust and transparency to a new business network and associated business model, formed among businesses that compete as well as cooperate, to generate a network effect to attain the real value blockchain offers en masse.

Straight to Production: The new platform will go into production by the end of 2017 (a PoC having been completed last year). The Digital Trade Chain project follows in the footsteps of Northern Trust, DTCC and CLS in confirming that their confidence in blockchain technologies is sufficient to move their respective platforms immediately into production.

Trust in Hyperledger Fabric: The selection of IBM and Hyperledger Fabric met the consortium requirements of a production launch this year, a proven approach to the platform to build and run a blockchain fabric and IaaS capable of supporting the functionality, security and performance requirements for a mission critical platform.

Hopefully the Digital Trade Chain announcement, and others to come, will continue to shift the debate from hype cycles to practical implementations, from unfilled expectations to new business models, and from technology to delivering economic value for an entire ecosystem of users.

If you are looking for more great news about IBM Blockchain, visit ibm.com/blockchain.

VP, Global Financial Markets

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