A shipment of soybeans was transported from Argentina to Malaysia, via Cargill's Geneva and Singapore subsidiaries.
HSBC used the Corda blockchain platform, which it developed in partnership with a number of other banks such as ING, BNP Paris and State Street, with the technology side provided by consortium R3 and Finastra.
"The transaction demonstrates that blockchain as a solution to trade digitization is commercially and operationally viable".
"At the moment, buyers and suppliers use a letter of credit, typically concluded by physically transferring paper documents, to underpin transactions", Vivek Ramachandran, global head of innovation and growth at HSBC's commercial banking unit told Reuters.
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Bearing in mind that the Cargill transaction took just 24 hours to accomplish, it would make no sense really for businesses to keep depending on a traditional system that consumes time excessively. He pointed out that blockchain technology eliminates the need for paper reconciliation because all parties are on one platform and updates are handled instantly. HSBC is reportedly using the Corda blockchain platform.
The successful blockchain-based trade deal marks a key step forward for HSBC which has been showing a lot of interest in decentralized ledger technology as well as cryptocurrencies.
Last Year, HSBC was awarded "World's Best Bank" and "North America's Best Bank for Transaction Services" among a list of many others, at the 2017 Euromoney Awards.
According to professionals' estimation, putting all trade-related paper work of Asia Pacific onto the blockchain could help to reduce the time need for goods export by up to 44% and to cut costs by up to 31%.
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Describing the transaction as an "an inflection point for how trade is conducted", Ramachandran said that for further advances to be made in the simplification of the trading process through blockchain more parties must now come on board including shipping companies, ports and banks.
According to HSBC, the transaction can be replicated.
"It is only by working together that we will create a platform that all those involved in trade want to use, from banks, exporters and shippers to regulators and lawmakers".
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