Standard Chartered, a UK-based multinational banking and financial services company with $688 billion in assets, announced on Tuesday it has made an investment in Contour, a blockchain-based open industry platform that will initially focus on digitally creating, exchanging, approving and issuing Letters of Credit (LCs).
Along with the investment, Contour, which was co-founded by ING Ventures and seven other banks in 2018, launched into the global trade finance market in Singapore. The launch follows a series of live pilots in a total of 14 countries and a global trial with more than 50 banks and corporates. Carl Wegner, Contour CEO, described the company by stating:
“Contour provides a network where trusted information is shared in real-time, effectively digitalising letters of credit across all users in the transaction. It is now available to provide a full commercial service to organisations looking to enhance their trade finance practices. We are now focusing on scaling the network with more banks, corporates and partners.”
Speaking about the investment, Lisa Robins, Global Head of Transaction Banking of Standard Chartered, stated:
“Our investment into Contour underscores our commitment to forge partnerships and solve common industry challenges – taking paper out of the process while improving speed and accuracy. With our footprint across the world’s fastest-growing trade corridors, we have the unique opportunity to support our clients in achieving a more sustainable supply chain, by improving access to financing through paperless trade and simpler processes.”
Through its new development phase Contour will reportedly look at further expanding its ecosystem to include more banks, technology providers and other established trade finance networks, with the vision of becoming a new industry standard for the digitization of global trade.