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New Zealand's ASB Bank invests in TradeWindow for distributed ledger technology trade platform development

Ingolfson [Public domain]

Tue, 13 Aug 2019, 03:50 am UTC

New Zealand’s ASB Bank has invested in blockchain startup TradeWindow, in a bid to fast track the development of a distributed ledger technology (DLT) trade platform.

AJ Smith, TradeWindow Founder and CEO, said the bank funding will be used to prepare the platform for commercialization, with an aim to release the first commercial version “very shortly.” The move makes the company one of the first technology firms in New Zealand to get direct funding from a New Zealand bank, according to a report by Finextra.

What began as collaboration through ASB’ innovation programme to solve a customer problem, is now a fully-fledged business ready to launch,” Nigel Annett ASB Bank’s Executive General Manager of Corporate Banking said.

Annett will join the company’s board, with ASB Bank taking a significant stake in the business.

TradeWindow has the potential to truly transform the way our customers experience the international trade process. By digitizing the trade process, business will be able to operate more efficiently with trust and security across the globe,” Annett said.

Last year, ASB successfully piloted the TradeWindow platform, conducting trades between a Korean importer and Greenlea Premier Meats, a major Kiwi meat exporter. TradeWindow utilized DLT to develop a “single trading window,” which can be accessed by all parties involved in the transaction. The move significantly reduced the risk of fraud and threats of cybersecurity as edits can only be made when the majority of the network agrees.

However, TradeWindow Founder and CEO AJ Smith noted that the primary advantage where immediate cost savings and efficiencies are realized is the “instantaneous sharing of documentation that is currently couriered at significant cost between the various parties, including exporters, importers, banks, certifiers, and insurance companies.”

Smith said this signifies a major market opportunity, given the 12,000 registered exporters in New Zealand.

TradeWindow allows all relevant documents – from certificates to invoices – to be exchanged digitally using one touchpoint,” he said, noting that many exporters are now seeking to future-proof their trading procedures amid increasing cybersecurity threats.

Meanwhile, Smith revealed that the firm has also scored exclusive partnerships with export documentation compliance firm Prodoc and import and export service provider Independent Verification Services Limited.

The company is also reportedly working with several pilot projects for other local exporters, including the country’s biggest lobster exporter Fiordland Lobster Company.

Last month, Ping An Insurance’s financial technology unit OneConnect announced its partnership with UBX, a fintech subsidiary of Philippines’ UnionBank, to utilize blockchain to offer financial services to micro, small, and medium enterprises.

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