Africa’s largest bank joins Marco Polo trade finance network

Standard Bank has joined the Marco Polo Network, a blockchain-based trade finance platform. Standard, which is Africa’s largest bank, joins some of the world’s largest banks on the platform which seeks to provide a more rapid and secure way to access working capital for its users.

The Marco Polo network is a joint project between R3 and TradeIX, two technology companies with a focus on blockchain technology and trade finance respectively, some of the leading banks and their corporate clients. Launched in 2017, the network provides an open enterprise software platform as well as a blockchain solution that offers a secure and efficient channel for the exchange of data and assets between the members.

The network boasts of having some of the world’s largest banks as founding members. They include the largest banks in France, the Netherlands and Denmark, BNP Paribas, ING Bank and Danske Bank. Other members include Bangkok Bank, Bayern LB, NatWest, RBI, Standard Chartered, Alfa Bank and Gulf Trade Bank.

Joining the network will enable Standard Bank to participate in building the future of trade financing, the banks head of product management Kevin Holmes stated.

Standard Bank is constantly looking for ways to provide best-in-class trade finance products to our customers to help them grow their business and achieve their potential. Joining the Marco Polo Network and leveraging the best technology and practices in the sector, allows us to actively participate in building the future of trade financing.

The network leverages Application Programming Interface (APIs) and offers its members Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) embedded working capital and trade finance applications that streamline communications and integration with the existing systems. The distributed ledger technology enables the members to share information securely and in real time.

The chief network officer of the Marco Polo Network, Daniel Cotti commented, “The Marco Polo Network’s goal is to build the optimum trade finance environment that addresses critical market challenges, offers improved user experiences and constantly evolves to meet customer’s needs. Close collaboration between leading international financial institutions, their clients and business partners is critical to success.”

South Africa has continued to rapidly adapt to the use of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. In February, a study by Hootsuite ranked the country top globally for ownership of cryptos relative to the number of internet users. Ghana and Kenya also ranked in the top 45 globally.

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