Africa in World’s First Blockchain Bank Transaction
Africa was at the forefront of a major technology landmark this week as Barclays Africa and its UK parent company Barclays plc completed the world’s first trade finance transaction using blockchain technology.
The trade, between Ireland and the Seychelles, was based on a new technology platform developed by Wave, an innovative start-up company that went through the Barclays Accelerator programme powered by TechStars in New York last year. The bank says it could herald a new era of simpler, faster and safer trade finance.
While companies around the world are looking for ways to improve trade finance transactions using the speed and security offered by blockchain technology, this is the first time it has been achieved in a live trade. Because of the involvement of Barclays Africa, additional pilot projects involving African clients are likely as the technology is developed and adapted.
The pilot trade involved a letter of credit transaction between Seychelles Trading Company Ltd and Ornua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board), clients of Barclays Africa and Barclays UK respectively. It used the Wave technology platform to transfer the electronic Bill of Lading (“eB/L”), with the funds sent via Swift.