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HSBC seeks South Korean banking partners for blockchain platform ‘Voltron’

Tue, 12 Mar 2019, 11:00 am UTC

Banking giant HSBC is seeking to form partnerships with South Korean banks to launch a blockchain-based platform that will allow companies to efficiently trade and settle their invoices for trade, The Korea Times reported.

HSBC is one of the founding members of Voltron, an initiative focused on leveraging blockchain technology in trade finance. The initiative was officially announced in October 2018.

In addition to HSBC, other founding members are Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, CTBC Holding, HSBC, ING, NatWest, SEB, Standard Chartered, Bain, CryptoBLK, and R3. Voltron initially began as a project within the R3 blockchain consortium.

The objective was to address the issue of long process of paper-based letters of credit exchanged among various stakeholders, including importers, exporters, shipping companies, and banks. The blockchain-based platform can help reduce the time the usual 5 to 10 days to 24 hours by allowing multiple parties to see the entire process and data at the same time.

Based on "permissioned" blockchain technology, the platform will be opened to and shared only with authorized participants on a need-to-know basis, which will help ensure data privacy.

Joshua Kroeker, HSBC's innovation director on blockchain, said that the bank is now seeking to commercially launch the Voltron platform in the near future.

"The biggest impact [of Voltron] would be time. Time and transparency will help companies better manage their cash flow and working capital," Kroeker said (as quoted by The Korea Times). "I am here this week to reach out to Korean banks to collaborate on this blockchain platform for letters of credit."

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