The Standard Bank, a South African bank with a wide African network, has become the first bank in Africa to be part of the Contour decentralized, inclusive trade finance ecosystem. The Contour network includes finance banks and corporates that offer end-to-end digital experiences through the R3 Corda decentralized and consensus network.
The network makes use of the Corda blockchain to facilitate trade finance by minimizing the cost, risk, and time of carrying out business across borders. Thus, banks that join this network will enjoy paperless operations and easier collaboration with other banks. Also, they will benefit from easy integration with current trade finance platforms.
Standard Bank is Africa’s biggest lender by assets and one of the top largest banks in Africa with operations across the following countries:
- Cote d’Ivoire
- South Africa
- Isle of man
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
- United States of America
“The African continent is in a unique position to leapfrog other more developed markets through the use of disruptive technology. Standard Bank is excited to be part of this network to deliver an open platform for documentary trade.
The use of Corda blockchain technology is expected to offer significant efficiencies to transacting Letters of Credit through digital channels.
Standard Bank looks forward to working with the Contour team as it embarks on this exciting journey and remain confident that stakeholders throughout the trade value chain will join them,” said Contour in a statement.
By so doing, Standard Bank joins a robust network of partners that include reputable financial institutions like:
- Standard Chartered
- Citi Ventures
- Bangkok Bank
- HD Bank
- Intellect EU
- CTBC Holding
- BNP Paribas
The Contour Blockchain network is well known for facilitating the first blockchain transaction by issuing a Letter of Credit (LC) in Bangladesh. Viyellatex Ltd, one of the country’s leading ready-made garments exporters, imported textile items from Viyellatex Spinning. It is important to understand here that Standard Chartered Bank acted as the Issuing Bank for the Applicant, as well as the Advising Bank for the Beneficiary of the LC. Note that the entire transaction was paperless and completed digitally through Contour’s network.
Below is a full list of “firsts” that have taken place on the Contour Network:
- First Letter of Credit issuance in Bangladesh
- First cross-bank Letter of Credit between Vietnam and Thailand over blockchain
- Processed import Letter of Credit services between Rio Tinto and Guangzi Shenglong Metallurgical
- Processed transaction between Vale and Nanjing Iron & Steel with DBS Bank
- Processed transaction between Baosteel and Rio Tinto with DBS Bank, Chinsay, and Standard Chartered Bank
Even though the Contour network currently has a robust LC infrastructure, the company says it will expand its offering beyond the LC to other data ‘pain points’ such as standby LCs and guarantees.