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IBM and We.trade are strengthening their relationship to help the latter scale globally. We.trade CEO Ciaran McGowan says they are going to work closely together on Asia, Africa and Latin America.
IBM has become a shareholder in we.trade, which is a trade finance platform that is jointly owned by twelve European banks. According to McGowan, the deepening relationship between the two entities will help the platform in its next phase of global expansion.
We.trade is a blockchain-based trade platform that enhances the overall customer experience when trading internationally. The platform is built on the IBM blockchain platform using Hyperledger Fabric user-interface, hence leveraging smart contracts and also opening up potential new trading opportunities.
In addition to owning the Hyperledger platform, IBM will now own 7% of the platform’s IP according to McGowan. IBM will now be joining the existing twelve shareholder banks, which include KBC, HSBC, Erste Group, CaixaBank, Nordea, Unicredit, UBS, Societe Generale, Santander and Rabobank.
According to McGowan, some European banks are playing a wait and see game with the enterprise blockchain. “I think that because there are quite a number of players in the space, and quite a number of banks on those platforms, the European banks have been kind of sitting back and maybe afraid to join one platform in case another does better,” he said.
We.trade and IBM Collaboration
Way forward, We.trade plans to interoperate with eTradeConnect, which is a blockchain-based finance platform founded by twelve Asian banks. According to Coindesk, an investment round that is planned for this coming September will see the platform onboard some insurance companies as well as more banks.
IBM cleared the air on allegations that its continued interest in the company will tamper with the previous semblance of independence. “Hyperledger is open-source; IBM has opened up to have a multi-cloud approach. The only thing we are collaborating smarter on is where does this all go – and that is the pursuit of market share and market size,” the company responded through Parm Sangha, the global trade finance leader at IBM.
Coindesk reported that IBM will begin rolling together its big blockchain services like TradeLens and Food Trust to get critical network adoption. “I am not sure that the strategy will work – the cost of transition may be higher than the cost of integrating those services,” a trusted source told the news outlet.
We.trade announced in the first quarter that Caixabank added its platform to its service catalogue for companies. As a result, it became the first European bank to grant its customers access to blockchain technology, intending to help them scale their business globally.