Mizuho and IBM Japan Build a Blockchain Trade Finance Platform

Blockchain technology can make it easier for banks, exporters, shippers, and port operators to share shipment data.

Mizuho Financial Group, Mizuho Bank and IBM Japan today announced that they are building a blockchain-based trade financing platform, promising to streamline trading operations and improve supply chain efficiency.

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Mizuho Financial Group is working with IBM Japan to ultimately conduct actual trade transactions based on Hyperledger Fabric. Specifically, the project exchanges digitized letters of credit for actual trade transactions between Japan and overseas clients. As the letter of credit is digitally shared among parties including importers, exporters and their banks, it is expected to simplify the document creation and exchange processes. Also, the system will enable all parties to view the latest shipment status data, which can result in reduced trade transaction and processing costs.

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“We are pleased to be the market leader in Japan in powering our processes and workflows with distributed ledger technology and continue to work aggressively towards expanding our portfolio of its implementations across the group,” said Daisuke Yamada, Managing Executive officer and Chief Digital Innovation Officer of Mizuho Financial Group. “The global expertise in digital technology of IBM complements our vision and has opened further avenues for us to tap the potential of distributed ledger in transforming our processes and workflows for better enterprise agility, transparency and regulatory reporting.”

“The Mizuho Financial Group and Mizuho Bank’s project marks an important step in using blockchain technology for actual operations in trade finance,” said Masao Sanbe, Managing Director, Industry Sales, IBM Japan. “In working with global trade networks to digitize documentation and processes, IBM recognizes the potential of blockchain to help streamline financial trade services.”

This first phase of the project will lead to Mizuho conducting actual trade transactions using blockchain in June 2017 advancing the trade financial platform for commercialization.

Last year Mizuho worked with IBM on another blockchain pilot, focused on currency settlement.

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