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Open trade finance network – Contour, launched today in Singapore

ContourOpen trade finance network – Contour, has been launched today in Singapore which will digitise and modernise the $18 trillion trade finance market. Backed by Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC, HSBC, ING Bank, Standard Chartered, SEB, Bain & Company, CryptoBLK and R3; the independent global network is built on R3’s Corda blockchain. R3 will be providing support and expertise to Contour, which is led by Carl Wegner. The network will initially focus on Letters of Credit (LoCs) issued between banks, typically across country borders.

In December 2019, it was announced that R3 was in a partnership with Penta Security, provider of web and data security services for Digital Asset Management (DAM) and MPC (Multi-Party Computation) technology. The strategic collaboration combines Penta Security’s technologies and R3’s enterprise blockchain platform, Corda.

Carl Wegner, CEO, Contour enunciated on the launch and stated, “The opportunity cost in trade finance is huge. Trillions of dollars in commodities, products and services are transacted daily, but the sector is still characterised by slow, duplicative and expensive processes. Contour delivers a network where trusted information is shared in real-time, effectively digitising Letters of Credit across all users in the transaction.”

While elucidating on the company’s intentions of focussing on scaling network with banks, he expressed, “We are indebted to the community of banks and corporates who have collaborated with us to validate our solution which delivers genuine, measurable value as well as process improvement around Letters of Credit. With the launch, Contour is now available to provide a full commercial service to organisations looking to enhance their trade finance practices.”

Live pilots in 14 countries were conducted prior to the launch along with a global trial with over 50 banks and corporates. It showed a decrease in processing times for LoCs by over 90 percent from 5-10 days to under 24 hours, as mentioned by Contour. The network digitises LoCs on blockchain, thereby leading to saving of time and cost by banks and corporates as duplicative processes are reduced.

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