Contour Enters Live Production To Digitize B2B Trade Finance

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International trade finance network Contour is going into live production as it connects purchasers, vendors and banks on a decentralized digital trade finance platform, according to an announcement.

“We owe our thanks to the global network of banks, corporates, shareholders and technology partners, who have collaborated to deliver this network,” Contour CEO Carl Wegner said in the announcement. “Together we have designed and built the digital future for trade finance.”

Businesses and banks will begin using the platform by focusing on the Letter of Credit (LC) process, which the organization said is a longstanding, pivotal payment method with “one of the worst user experiences,” according to the announcement.

The organization said it was able to quicken the processing time for these payment methods by as much as 90 percent during piloting, the announcement stated. Its technology provides an online application for trade finance through a distributed ledger trade network that enables entities to manage their own information as they transact, while looking at shared data with their service providers and trading partners.

The transition into production comes on the heels of a long timeframe of planning, build-out and piloting by more than 80 financial institutions and companies, with pilots in 17 nations. Transactions ran the gamut from energy to commodities and petrochemicals, among other areas, according to the announcement.

The news comes as Ant Group has rolled out Trusple, a blockchain technology for small- to medium-sized business (SMB) cross-border trade to speed up order processing.

Ant, which runs the Alipay mobile payment app, debuted Trusple in Shanghai on Sept. 25.

Jiang Guofei, president of Ant’s advanced technology business group, said in September, “Just like when Alipay was introduced in 2004 as the online escrow payment solution to build trust between buyers and sellers, with the launch of AntChain-powered Trusple, we look forward to making cross-border trading safer, more reliable, and more efficient for buyers and sellers, as well as for the financial institutions that serve them.”

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