HSBC, Standard Chartered and more launch blockchain finance platform

HSBC, Standard Chartered and ten more banks have revealed a new blockchain-based trade finance platform based in Hong Kong.

The platform, eTrade Connect, has been designed to boost efficiency in international trade, reports Reuters,  and HSBC has used it to dramatically reduce the time it takes to approve trade loan applications – from a day and a half to four hours. The industry was worth $9 trillion in 2017.

HSBC confirmed at the launch event that furniture and household goods retailer Pricerite had already used eTrade Connect to create, exchange and confirm supplies.

Pricerite Chairman Bankee Kwan said: “Blockchain has transformed a cumbersome, complex process into a simpler but more secure and efficient way of conducting trade.”

Other banks participating in the project include the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (MKMA), Agricultural Bank of China, and BNP Paribas.

In the summer HSBC said that it was ‘cautiously‘ looking into how it could utilise blockchain technology despite not looking at Bitcoin as a genuine investment.

Josh Bottomley, HSBC global head of digital, said at the time: “We are cautious[ly] looking into this area. There’s a use case when you have a token or currency that’s actually useful for a particular purpose, and it serves that need.

In July we reported that the bank had joined a deal to set up a blockchain-based finance platform from Hong Kong’s central bank MKMA, aiming to speed up mortgage loan applications by digitising and automating them. The project has been in the works since October 2017.