Bank of China, one of the four major commercial banks in China, has issued 20 billion yuan ($2.8 billion) in blockchain-based bonds for small and micro-sized enterprises with their own blockchain platforms. 

The bank announced Friday that it completed pricing and issuance of the bonds for the first period this week and the two-year bond will come to the market with 3.25% coupon rate, according to a statement. The bank aims to raise funds to support these businesses.

“We have used our own blockchain-based bond issuance system in the process,”  the bank said in the statement. “This is also the first bond issuance ledger system that is based on blockchain in the country.” 

The bank used its own blockchain system to issue digital certificates that prove ownership, form groups of underwriters and document proof of transactions. 

The bond issuance is part of the country’s effort to support entrepreneurs with more efficient access to capital. As of September, the bank has lent 404 billion yuan ($57.7 billion) to more than 410,000 small and micro sized enterprises, the bank said. 

Financing for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) has been one of the major blockchain use cases for banks and financial services companies in China. 

Industrial and Commerce Bank of China (ICBC), the largest bank by assets in the world, started to offer factoring services (transactions where a business sells account receivables to a third party at a discount in return for immediate cash payment) to SMEs on their blockchain platform in February 2018. 

Ant Financial, the fintech arm of tech giant Alibaba, announced it would launch its own blockchain platform to provide SMEs with more reliable financial services in three month. 

Beyond China, Spanish banking giant Santander has issued $20 million bonds which trade on ethereum in September in a bid to accelerate the bond issuance process.  

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