SMBC joins blockchain network to improve efficiency

The Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Corporation signed a letter of intent to join the Contour’s Beta Network and to score a membership with Switzerland’s Komgo.  

SMBC headquarters in Tokyo, Japan
The pandemic has intensified efforts by institutions and entities around the world to adopt digital technologies

The Sumitomo Mitsui Bank Corporation (SMBC) has confirmed that it will be joining Contour’s Beta Network and has also secured membership with Switzerland’s Komgo, the world’s first platform based on the blockchain for the commodity trade ecosystem.

In addition, the SMBC is in the process of launching the R3 Conda’s Marco Polo trade digitalisation platform.

The SMBC was driven to join the blockchain consortium after facing work disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and pressure to function efficiently in the midst of a crisis.

Komgo’s main shareholders are from the banking, oil, and trading industries. SMBC is the third largest bank by assets in Japan.

The Contour’s Beta network is built on the R3’s Corda and focuses on digitalising processes—particularly the creation, exchange, approval, and issuance of letter of credits (LCs), an often laborious and time-consuming process.

Digitalising these trade processes have become a top priority for all participants due to the COVID-19 situation, as physical interaction is highly discouraged to prevent the spread of the virus.

The SMBC will be capable of tapping into the network’s digital solutions, providing a digital end to end LC settlement process for its customers. It will be the first Japanese bank to join the network, mere months after the system was tested extensively by 50 banks and corporations. It follows the DBS Bank of Singapore.

“SMBC is accelerating its move towards digital transformation as part of its response to COVID-19. With the successful completion of Proof of Concept and now in the process of launching the ‘Marco Polo’ trade digitalisation platform into the market, SMBC aims to take further steps partnering with ‘Contour’ and ‘Komgo’ to cater value added trade service to our customers”, the bank announced in a press release.

Marco Polo is a clear indication of the bank’s willingness to adapt to the latest technologies. The SMBC’s digitisation platform is backed by TradeIX from Dublin, and R3 LCC of New York. It is host to a variety of high-profile members around the world, such as Bangkok Bank, Mastercard, and BNP Paribas.

Last month, the Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc (SMFG) joined the Open Invention Network (OIN) with the goal of utilising the open-source technology to satisfy its clientele’s financial needs.

With over 2,500 corporate participants, OIN CEO Keith Bergelt believes that his company is the largest patent non-aggression community in the world. The overall goal of the network is to foster continued collaboration and innovation in the research, development, and integration of emerging technologies.

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