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DBS Bank Joins Global Blockchain Network to Digitize Trade Settlement

05/11/2020

Singapore-based DBS bank joins blockchain trade-finance network Contour to disrupt its letters of credit settlement process.

Singapore-based multinational banking firm DBS Bank has joined the blockchain trade-finance network Contour, which is built over R3’s Corda. Contour is due for a main-launch later this year.

According to a May 11 report by the business news outlet The Business Times, DBS Bank is the first bank from Singapore to join the network. Major institutions such as BNP Paribas, Bangkok Bank, ING, HSBC, Standard Chartered and Citi Ventures founded Contour.

Digitizing for efficiency

DBS looks forward to digitizing its end-to-end letters of credit settlement process through the platform’s blockchain solutions. The bank aims to reduce settlement time, decrease the amount of paperwork, and simplify the trading process.

Contour will also help DBS’s corporate customers conduct real-time digital pre-issuance negotiations between applicants and beneficiaries which will increase the accuracy of the issue letters of credit. Real-time tracking and audit trails of transactions will add transparency and help negate or resolve discrepancies more effectively.

Speaking of the innovation Contour could bring to the trade-finance ecosystem, the group head of global transaction services at DBS Bank, John Laurens, said:

It’s about transforming the way industries work by providing greater transparency, security and speed to build sustainable trade ecosystems that are able to weather the peaks and troughs of economic cycles and are resilient in times of crisis.

Call for contactless banking amid Covid-19

Cointelegraph reported in March that Contour had conducted a successful trial of its platform last year, where it recorded $30 million in letter-of-credit transactions.

In the traditional trade finance system, most processes require human intervention and piles of paperwork. Given the Covid-19 crisis, it is now more crucial than ever to prepare for a more contactless form of the trade process. 

Addressing the issue, Ajay Sharma, HSBC’s regional head of global trade and receivables finance, has previously claimed that: “Leveraging blockchain for trade finance has overcome the physical constraints we are having today.”