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Interswitch, Microsoft launch blockchain-based supply chain financing platform in Nigeria

Image: Interswitch (Twitter)

Nov 05, 2018 10:57 am UTC

Interswitch Group, a digital payments and commerce company headquartered in Nigeria, in collaboration with Microsoft, has announced the launch of its blockchain-based supply chain financing service, PM News Nigeria reported.

The Interswitch Blockchain Service (Supply Chain FinanceModule) is built and hosted using the Microsoft Azure Blockchain technology. It will bring together entrepreneurs, financial institutions and corporate organizations on a single platform and facilitate end-to-end visibility, ensuring fast and seamless trade financing in supply chain operations.
“…we are happy to partner with Microsoft, by leveraging the advanced technology of the Microsoft Azure Blockchain, to prove the possibility of building a distributed ledger that is practical, viable and has the propensity to solve some of Nigeria’s most difficult financial and logistic problems,” Mitchell Elegbe, Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Interswitch said.

Elegbe said that the platform will allow anyone to build blockchain-based solutions in an easy and cost-effective manner. He explained that by using the blockchain service, small and mid-sized firms were able to access more funding in a shorter time (up to three weeks) from participating banks, including United Bank for Africa (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), and Zenith Bank and enjoyed increased sales cycles from participating corporations, such as the Dangote Group.

Importantly, the service does not deploy the use of cryptocurrency in its application. Elegbe explained that transaction enquiries and verifications would be handled by authorized officials from participating entities, without the incentives of a cryptocurrency.

Commenting on the launch, Michael Glaros, Principal Programme Manager, Microsoft Azure Blockchain at Microsoft Corporation, said:

“This will be the first enterprise-grade blockchain service in Nigeria, and one of only a handful of production blockchain applications in use by banks and corporate globally. The blockchain technology is still in its infancy in Nigeria and we are happy to pioneer its deployment in partnership with Interswitch, an innovative and forward-thinking company which has evolved its business around financial technology.”

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