Japanese banking group Mizuho has released the results of a blockchain experiment focused on trade finance.
Mizuho said today that the test saw participation from Marubeni Corporation, a Japanese trading conglomerate, and domestic insurer Sompo Japan Nipponkoa Insurance Inc. During the test, information was transmitted between Japan and Australia, with "all trade-related processes, from issuing the letter of credit to delivering trade documents, [being] completed entirely via a digital platform using blockchain", according to Mizuho.
The bank has launched a number of blockchain-focused tests in the past year, including one that saw it utilize bitcoin's blockchain to facilitate securities transfers. Mizuho has weighed the tech for currency settlement and distributed record keeping, among other areas.
Among the benefits highlighted by the trial: faster document delivery times and increased transparency. Mizuho said that the digitization of the process cut the amount of time it takes to create and disseminate trade finance-related documentation, as well as reduce the human labor required.
That said, the bank noted that those benefits aren't as meaningful if some of the parties to trade finance transactions aren't actually using the same system.
"It is not possible to transmit trade transaction information in digital blockchain / DLT format to parties who do not use the platform; transactions must be conducted as before," Mizuho said.
Mizuho suggested that the project may lead to client-facing trade finance services, though it didn't offer any clear timeline on when such a product launch might happen.
"Building on this trade transaction project, Mizuho aims to further explore the practical business application of blockchain / DLT and to offer technologically sophisticated, client-focused services going forward," the bank said in a statement.
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