Making Trade Finance Easier to Secure for SMEs with Blockchain


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the engines of the global economy, accounting for 90% of businesses and 50% of employment. Yet the road to recovery for them will be challenging since they’ve traditionally faced barriers in securing the trade and supply chain financing they need to operate and grow. Enter, the blockchain-based trade finance network comprised of 15 European banks. They’re using blockchain to eliminate many of the paper-based processes and legacy risks that have prevented them from serving the trade finance needs of their SME clients. Discover the insights, challenges and lessons learned during our three-year journey to design, build and run the first global blockchain-based digital trade finance platform.


David Smits

Senior Architect / Chief Architect for, IBM

David is working as a Senior Architect for IBM Blockchain Services Europe and is the Blockchain Ambassador and IBM’s Global Business Services Technical Blockchain Lead for Belgium and Luxemburg. He has over 22 years of experience in the IT industry of which 14 at IBM. As well as being a member of the BELTUG Blockchain Task Force and the Agoria Mirroring Commission for ISO/TC 307, David is also the IBM Chief Architect on, the world’s first blockchain-enabled trade finance platform in production. As a technophile, David is always looking to help customers leverage new technologies like Blockchain, IoT and AI.

Mark Cudden


Paramjit Sangha

Global Blockchain Leader, Trade and Trade Finance, IBM

Parm is responsible for IBM’s Global Business Services Blockchain strategy and execution leveraging blockchain capabilities, to facilitate lowest friction trade and trade finance networks. As well as being a member of the International Chambers of Commerce’s Digital Working Group for Trade Digitisation, Parm is also a leading executive that partnered with Europe’s leading banks, to enable be the world’s first blockchain enabled trade finance platform in production and enjoy a successful launch. Parm is also an active participant and speaker at BAFT, WTO and other industry events. As a proven growth driver, Parm has operated at Board level and Senior Management Client facing roles, to advise and execute business and technology strategies. Spanning the Fortune 500, Parm has applied new technologies to unlock new business value with new business models leveraging technologies like predictive analytics, AI, IoT and Blockchain Out of office hours, Parm is also an amateur inventor (more tinkerer) and has engaged with a UK Government initiative to tackle obesity with his to be patent-pending stealth exercise device. He is also involved in mentoring several startups in the education, financial and charity software markets as well as Duke of Edinburgh students. He follows Arsenal Football Club, Formula 1, squash and has an awful golf handicap.

Ciaran McGowan