ICICI Bank, India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, has become the first bank in India and one of the first banks in the world to successfully execute transactions in international trade finance and remittance using blockchain technology. ICICI Bank has a large customer base and the whole network of 4,451 branches, 14,073 ATMs, call center, internet banking, mobile banking, banking on Facebook & Twitter and ‘Pockets by ICICIBank’ the country’s first digital wallet.
The Bank comments that blockchain helped to facilitate the process of exchange and authentication of remittance transaction messages and original international trade documents related to purchase including order, invoice, shipping & insurance. As a result of using the blockchain technology, the process became almost instant – if traditionally it used to take up to several days, now takes only several minutes.
The trial was conducted in partnership with Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the Middle East. These pilot transactions were executed on a custom-made blockchain application, co-created with EdgeVerve Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of Infosys.
“ICICI Bank has a rich legacy of leveraging the latest technology to bring in new paradigms in banking. Akin to pioneering new technologies in the country like software robotics, mobility and near-field communication among others, I am delighted that we are the first bank in India and among few globally to set up a blockchain application. We have also marked a milestone by piloting a blockchain network with Emirates NBD as a partner and have successfully executed cross-border open account trade finance and remittance transactions. I envision that the emerging technology of blockchain will play a significant role in banking in the coming years by making complex bilateral and multi-lateral banking transactions seamless, quick and more secure. Going forward, we also intend to work on expanding the blockchain ecosystem and create common working standards to contribute to the commercial adoption of this initiative”, said Ms. Chanda Kochhar, MD & CEO at ICICI Bank.
ICICI Bank created the blockchain application that enables all the participating entities including banks to access a single source of information. Thus, the importer in Mumbai; ICICI Bank, Mumbai; the exporter in Dubai and Emirates NBD, Dubai, could view the data, track documentation and authenticate ownership of assets digitally in real time. The client and commercial confidentiality is preserved while each participant is entitled to check online the status of the application.
The initiative of ICICI Bank showed that the blockchain technology has a great potential to make remittance transactions almost instant. Blockchain-based transactions do not require financial messaging between banks and heralds the convenience of instant cross-border remittances for retail customers.