Microsoft Corp. and Bank of America Merrill Lynch are collaborating on blockchain technology to fuel transformation of trade finance transacting.
The two multinationals made the announcement Tuesday at Sibos, an annual conference organized by SWIFT for the financial industry.
As part of this collaboration, the two companies will build and test technology, create frameworks, and establish best practices for blockchain-powered exchanges between businesses and their customers and banks.
Microsoft Treasury experts will serve as advisors and initial test clients, establishing the first Microsoft Azure-powered blockchain transaction between a major corporate treasury and a financial institution.
Currently, underlying trade finance processes are highly manual, time-consuming and costly. With blockchain, processes can be digitized and automated, transaction settlement times shortened, and business logic applied to related data, creating a host of potential benefits for businesses and financial institutions including more predictable working capital, reduced counterparty risk, improved operational efficiency, and enhanced audit transparency, among other benefits, said Microsoft.
Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service was first introduced in November 2015. The global scale, hybrid cloud capabilities, extensive compliance certification portfolio, and enterprise-proven security of Azure provide businesses with confidence and choice, especially in highly regulated industries such as financial services, healthcare and government, according to Microsoft.
“The potential benefits of blockchain will help drive meaningful supply-chain efficiencies to the clients of both Microsoft and the bank. This project is another example of our continued commitment to introduce financial innovations for the betterment of global commerce,” said Ather Williams, head of Global Transaction Services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, in a prepared statement.