HSBC Undertakes Blockchain-based Trade Finance Transacntion for Automotive Sector in the Middle East

Through the Contour platform, HSBC conducted a blockchain-based trade finance transaction between SAIC Motor, a Chinese car manufacturer and Taajeer Group, the exclusive agent for MG cars in Saudi Arabia. 

With its help from the Contour platform, it would significantly increase the speed of dealing with paperwork. HSBC noted that by using distributed ledger technology has the potential to revamp the trade finance sector by slashing transaction times to less than 24 hours from the present five to ten days.

Per the announcement:

“The Contour platform enabled end-to-end digitisation of the credit documentation required for Taajeer to import a shipment of cars from SAIC in a process that is up to 10 times faster than using physical documents.”  

Chaker Zeraiki, the head of global trade & receivables finance at HSBC UAE, stated:

“Our digitizing at scale means making customers’ lives easier and, with Contour it means we’re cutting costs, reducing risk and speeding up trade. Bringing these benefits to the automotive sector and Saudi Arabia are a measure of our international connectivity and our global leadership in trade banking.” 

Contour seeks to digitize the worldwide trade finance industry worth $53 billion through decentralized technology by integrating digital networks across present fragmented ecosystems and trade routes as a blockchain trade finance network.

Carl Wegner, Contour’s CEO, pointed out:

“This transaction marks an important milestone in the Middle East’s automotive sector, proving that distributed ledger technology is successfully transforming the trade finance ecosystem.”

The blockchain-powered trade finance transaction is a first of its kind on Saudi Arabian soil, and it is seen as a stepping stone towards the nation’s Vision 2030 initiative of becoming a regional trade hub. 

HSBC has emerged as a notable facilitator of blockchain-based trade transactions. 

For instance, the leading British multinational investment bank and financial services holding company partnered with Wave to execute a blockchain-powered trade between China and New Zealand, Blockchain.News reported. 

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Trade Finance Platform We.Trade on the Brink of Liquidation, Report says, a trade finance platform, established as a joint venture among multinational firms, including 12 banks is on the brink of liquidation, The reports. - 2022-06-06T105702.944.jpg

The Irish startup has notably sent a notice of liquidation to its employees and it is calling for a creditors meeting next week where it may appoint a liquidator from one of the Big Four auditing giants, PwC.

The move to liquidate the startup stems from its growing loss records with the Independent reporting that the startup lost as much as $8.6 million (8 million Euros) in the 2020 financial year. Founded in 2017, We.Trade has garnered interest from the likes of IBM which joined the firm back in 2020 as it was expanding its blockchain strategy at the time.

There are as many as 12 banks that are part of the We.Trade joint venture, including HSBC, became the first banking institution to finance a trade using the Hyperledger Fabric. The inaugural interests from We.Trade stirred the startup to secure as much as 5.5 million Euros back in 2021, and the failure to secure additional funding has led to the complications stirring a liquidation at this time.

The We.Trade disintegration will not be the first of its kind in the blockchain world as Meta Platform Inc’s Diem Project was also unable to see the light of day due to excessive regulatory pressures with respect to its stablecoin creation plans. Earlier this year, the Diem project, which started out as Libra but later rebranded, announced its asset sale as it made a move to close shop and sell off its intellectual properties.

Silvergate Bank acquired the IP as Meta Platforms also sought avenues to pay off investors who had injected resources into the project from inception to that point.

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UAE Rolls Out Blockchain-Powered Trade Finance Platform to Fight Fraud

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has launched a blockchain-enabled trade finance platform dubbed UAE Trade Connect to curb economic crimes like money laundering, under-invoicing, and fraud.

Revamping the trade finance space

Telecom giant Etisalat has joined forces with a consortium of seven leading local banks like the First Abu Dhabi Bank (FAB) to roll out the blockchain-powered platform. More banks are expected to sign up.

According to Zulqarnain Javaid, an Etisalat official:

“UAE Trade Connect will be a game changer for the trade finance space.”

The blockchain-based system has taken two years for it to be actualized, including six months of trials. The UAE Central Bank’s fintech division was part of the steering committee mandated with overseeing the project.

Boosting fraud detection

As per the announcement:

“The platform is primarily into fraud detection within the trade finance space, but the promoters expect it to evolve into handling trade-based money laundering or sanctions busting. And at a later date, get into e-invoicing.”

Javaid noted that the UAE Trade Connect had the capability of handling bank guarantees, letters of credit, and bills of lading, which entailed working closely with governments, custom authorities, and ports. 

The UAE continues showing its support for the blockchain and crypto sector. For instance, following a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Dubai Multi-Commodities Centre (DMCC) Free Zone and the Securities and Commodities Authority (SCA), crypto businesses were granted the liberty to operate in DMCC last month. 

The strategic agreement was intended to foster growth and development in this sector by bringing the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies’ ecosystem to Dubai. 

In August 2020, the DMCC established a blockchain-based agri-commodity trading and sourcing platform dubbed Agriota E-Marketplace to link millions of Indian rural farmers with the UAE food sector.

One of its primary objectives entailed giving the farmers a competitive edge by availing blockchain-powered solutions when eliminating intermediaries and the timely access of the marketplace. 

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