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Blockchain to streamline cumbersome international trade transactions

Blockchain to streamline cumbersome international trade transactions

Within the international trade and finance sector, logistic companies need to better streamline their payments and documentation flow. A methodology to solve this issue in the FinTech marketplace is blockchain technology applied to supply chain finance. This allows encrypted data on all facets of international transactions, from payments to bills-of-lading to delivery data and for the accumulating record to be privately shared among banks, shippers and traders. With the formation of its new SecurCapital Corp. subsidiary, Global Payment, Inc. is addressing the supply-chain finance needs of mid-tier logistics companies while joining a growing number of other innovators utilising the benefits of blockchain. Among them are Hive Blockchain Technologies Ltd, Cboe Global Markets, Long Blockchain Corp. and BTL Group.

The expansion of global commerce over the past two decades has made legacy systems for handling international logistics and financial transactions obsolete. As a result, traders are now abandoning these dated industry mainstays in favour of more advanced, efficient platforms.

Global supply chains are increasingly complex; as the number of suppliers grows, so too does the number of transactions and therefore so does the depth of supply chains.

The present-day “need for speed” in the execution of secure payments in global commerce has particularly overburdened existing paper-based back offices, which often rely on faxes, phone calls and paper-ledgers to execute transborder transactions.

In the logistics industry, legacy in-house systems muddle efficiency and hamper business potential.

To help speed and secure international transactions, in January, Global Payment, Inc. launched a new logistics industry serving subsidiary, SecurCapital Corp., to modernise logistics record-keeping through supply chain finance.

“Clearly, there has been a monumental transformation influenced by FinTech, blockchain and alternative banking options within the global payment landscape,” commented Global Payout CEO James Hancock. “Traditional financial institutions are not positioned to serve global logistics payment requirements for secure access, integrated foreign exchange and international payments or access to adequate working capital. SecurCapital will be providing a new financial pathway for the global logistics industry. Furthermore, we anticipate SecurCapital will become a significant revenue generator that should strengthen our suite of services and deliver value to the parent company, Global Payout.”

Designed as a ‘one-click solution’ to the $800 billion global supply-chain marketplace, SecurCapital’s blockchain technology offers a cloud-based business-to-business (B2B) platform for global payments, FOREX and accounts-receivable factoring, all with secure multi-factor authentication to mitigate risk and cut costs.

The SecurCapital Platform incorporates blockchain technology for maximum security of every process within the logistics supply chain. It links buyers to sellers and underlying supply-chain participants to optimise cash flow, helping buyers to lengthen payment terms even while vendors and suppliers take the option of more-rapid payment, through a process dubbed ‘reverse factoring.’

Global Payout recognises that many mid-tier logistics companies utilise antiquated systems for administration and freight payment management, unaware of the potential that awaits. With its SecurCapital Platform, the company anticipates playing a vital role in the progression of the logistics industry.

“The cold, hard fact is that one-third of the logistics industry still runs on Excel and older legacy in house systems for freight payment. Research shows that there is not only a lack of innovation, but also a lack of understanding of what FinTech is and its potential impact on the logistics industry. Our goal is to offer the industry supply chain finance solutions designed by actual logistics professionals to reduce cost of payments, FX, improve working capital liquidity and gain dashboard visibility while leveraging the latest cloud-based FinTech innovations,” explained SecurCapital CEO, Stephen J. Russell.

The value of Russell’s appointment as CEO lies in his experience as a veteran logistics executive, previously serving as CEO, COO, Founder and EVP in public and private logistics companies worldwide. He is also an early cloud pioneer, serving as the president and CEO of Salesforce.com – Asia Pacific and their launch in the Asia and Australia Region.

“Banking-in-a-box” remains core design

Established in 2009, Global Payout has long-held an established position as a provider of comprehensive payment solutions that can be fully customised for virtually any domestic and international organisation distributing money worldwide.

At the core of the new SecurCapital Platform is the technology behind Global Payout’s Consolidated Payment Gateway (“CPG”), a fully configurable “banking-in-a-box” web-based platform that can fulfil the front-to-back office processing requirements of domestic, foreign exchange and international payment service providers. This platform is designed to improve work flow, operational efficiencies and global financial management for enterprises operating across the globe.

With a sweeping set of capabilities, CPG can manage core and traditional banking products, online banking, card management, mobile wallets, merchant payment processing, biometric payments and authentication management, bill payments and P2P payments, international remittances, government benefits management, loans management, FOREX, and SWIFT/ACH/SEPA payments.

Powered by the Global Reserve Administrative module, the platform can be customised for enterprises across a multitude of business sectors, as evidenced in the creation of SecurCapital for the logistics industry.

The trade finance future is FinTech

The international consultancy company Accenture (ACN) recently advised banks to migrate to online and blockchain technology to remedy the bogged-down transnational logistics and finance sector and further warned that doing so “will be key for banks to safeguard their position and continue to drive growth.” Banks must extend “the traditional trade finance products with sophisticated, online access and with supply chain offerings,” suggested Accenture, or lose relevancy.

The consultancy added, “Banks are therefore modernising their trade finance platforms, opting for proven technology solutions and maximum simplification and automation of processes.”

In the future, some FinTech denizens envision not just banks, traders and suppliers connected by blockchain technology, but also port officials and certain freight providers. Others contend that blockchain technology will be essential to reducing counterfeiting and raising food quality standards in international and even domestic trade.

The first trade finance transaction using blockchain technology was claimed in September by bank Barclays and an Israeli start-up, when parties handled a $100,000 shipment of cheese and butter exports from Ireland to the Seychelles Trading Company.

Peers in the blockchain space

The plan of Hive Blockchain Technologies is to build bridges from the blockchain sector to traditional capital markets. HIVE has partnered with Genesis Mining Ltd., touted as the world’s largest cloud-based blockchain and cryptocurrency mining company, to build the next-generation of blockchain infrastructure. HIVE owns state-of-the-art GPU-based digital currency mining facilities in Iceland, which produce newly minted virgin digital currency like Ethereum around the clock and is in the midst of a major expansion of operations into Sweden. HIVE claims a healthy balance sheet, a reserve of cryptocurrency and operations in low-cost-energy environments. It plans to use flexibility afforded by Genesis infrastructure software to identify and profitably exploit existing, emerging and new cryptocurrencies.

Cboe Global Markets on January 17 reported its first settlement of January expiry Cboe bitcoin (XBT) future, at $10,800 and thus the exchange-operator officially finalised its entry into the cryptocurrency and blockchain sector. In addition to its recent bitcoin foray, Cboe operates as an options exchange various market indexes such as the S&P 500 of VIX, options on listed stocks; and options on other exchange-traded products, such as exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded notes. The key take-away is that the addition of bitcoin futures to the Cboe portfolio or products allow bitcoin users to hedge, thus reducing risks in the use of the cryptocurrency.

Long BlockChain has announced its letter of intent with the private Stater Blockchain Ltd., a developer of scalable blockchain technology for financial markets. Stater’s subsidiary, Stater Global Markets, is a regulated brokerage that facilitates market access across multiple instruments including spot FX, digital currency futures and contracts for difference. Long Blockchain, formerly the Long Island Iced Tea Co., said if the agreement and a related stock-transaction with Stater are consummated, they will complement its previously announced deal to acquire 1,000 China-made Antminer S9 mining rigs and related power-supply equipment, to be installed in Sweden.

BTL Group is a developer of blockchain technologies with business and financial applications. BTL Group contends its Interbit is a secure, user-friendly multi-chain platform that enable enterprises to build custom applications in trading, settlement, remittance, audit and back-office processes. Its technology platform Xapcash, combined with its Interbit, intends to leverage blockchain technology to create “cash-in cash-out’ settlement solutions from Canada and the United Kingdom to target countries. BTL Group, which primarily serves the finance, energy and gaming sectors, has collaborated with VISA Europe on a pilot program to develop a cross-border settlement solution, emphasising scalability, security and privacy. In December Victory Square Technologies Inc. appointed Guy Halford-Thompson, Co-Founder and former CEO of BTL Group to its advisory board.