Using a Public Blockchain for International Trade

The TradeTrust Framework, a blockchain-based platform developed by Enterprise Singapore and Singapore’s tech authority IMDA, recently facilitated its first live international trade using a public blockchain. The platform offers a choice between Ethereum and Polygon for its blockchain infrastructure.

Maersk, a global shipping giant, used the TradeTrust platform to issue an Electronic Bills of Lading (eBL) for a shipment of scrap metal. This move is noteworthy because Maersk had previously been involved with TradeLens, a different blockchain initiative.

Why is Maersk getting involved in different blockchain initiatives? The importance of the relationship between public blockchains and international trade is significant for several reasons:

  • They are transparent and can be audited by any party, enhancing trust among stakeholders. This is important for international trade, where there are often many different parties involved in a single transaction.
  • Public blockchains can easily interact with various platforms, making it easier for traders, shippers, and banks to integrate. This can help to streamline the international trade process and reduce costs.
  • Public blockchains like Polygon offer lower transaction costs, making them economically viable for businesses. This is especially important for small businesses that may not have the resources to invest in more expensive blockchain solutions.
  • eBLs can be transmitted much faster and cheaper on a public blockchain, reducing the time and cost involved in international trade. This can be a major advantage for businesses that need to move goods quickly and efficiently.
Source: Maersk Official Website

Maersk’s Move to a Public Blockchain

Maersk’s shift to a public blockchain indicates a few key considerations. First, the company is looking to move towards fully paperless transactions. The TradeTrust platform enabled Maersk to be part of the “first shipment to undergo a fully paperless transaction process involving traders, shippers, and banks,” according to IMDA. This is a major step forward for the company, as it could help to reduce costs and improve efficiency.

Second, the use of a public blockchain can facilitate easier access to trade financing. The public blockchain allows for more reliable trade documentation, which in turn can make it easier for businesses to obtain loans from banks. This is another important benefit for Maersk, as it could help the company to grow its business.

Third, the use of eBLs on a public blockchain can help to minimize the risk of fraud. Paper-based Bills of Lading are often susceptible to fraud, but eBLs on a public blockchain are more secure and tamper-proof. This could help Maersk to reduce its losses from fraud.

Finally, Maersk’s move to a public blockchain aligns with the broader industry trend towards interoperability and digitisation. The Digital Container Shipping Association (DCSA) is working on enabling interoperability among eBL platforms, and the use of a public blockchain can help to facilitate this. This could help to make international trade more efficient and streamlined for all businesses involved.

The Future of Public Blockchains in International Trade

The use of public blockchains for international trade is still in its early stages, but it has the potential to revolutionize the way that trade is conducted. By providing greater transparency, interoperability, and security, public blockchains can help reduce costs, improve efficiency, and boost trust in the global trading system.

As more businesses and governments adopt blockchain technology, it is likely that we will see even more innovative applications of blockchain in international trade. For example, blockchain could be used to track the movement of goods and documents throughout the supply chain, provide financing for trade transactions, or even facilitate the settlement of disputes.

The future of public blockchains in international trade is bright. As the technology matures and adoption increases, we can expect to see even more ways that blockchain can be used to make international trade more efficient, secure, and transparent.

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