UniCredit Completes First Italian Transaction Via We.trade Blockchain Platform

Italian banking and financial services UniCredit has completed its first local transaction on we.trade, a blockchain-based trade platform.

The we.trade platform was developed by nine banks, including Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and UniCredit, Banco Santander and Nordea, to exploit a licensed blockchain for transactions in supply chain trade financing. Powered by Hyperledger Fabric, the platform allows companies, particularly those in the SME segment, to identify trusted counterparties for establishing new commercial relations – providing full visibility on transaction and shipment status, digitalizing the whole process from order creation to payment execution.

Within the platform, companies can also access financial services provided by their bank, such as Bank Payment Undertaking (BPU), where the buyer’s bank provides the seller with an irrevocable undertaking to pay the invoice at maturity date, and BPU financing, where the seller’s bank provides financing by discounting the BPU of which they are a beneficiary.

UniCredit’s first Italian transaction on the we.trade platform involved facilitating a tinplate trade between metal packaging producer Gruppo ASA and its supplier, Steelforce, which was supported by KBC Bank in Belgium. According to the bank, the platform’s smart contracts make transactions considerably faster and more transparent, offering a way to help firms to carry out international trade in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

“Our Group is always looking for the best production technologies,” said Guido Cicognani, Chief Financial Officer of Gruppo ASA. “With this in mind, we decided to extend our thirst for innovation also to the financial sphere and be the first company in Italy to use we.trade, thus pursuing a completely digital and therefore more linear, transparent and easy to monitor order management process. Steelforce is the first partner in this initiative, and we will extend the use of this platform to other interested suppliers and customers in Europe.”

Luca Corsini, Head of Global Transaction Banking at UniCredit, said that we.trade is a success story in the field of inter-bank collaboration.

“We believe that we.trade can contribute to redefine business relationships among SMEs, removing obstacles that typically make international transactions costly and complex whilst delivering concrete benefits for our clients,” Corsini said.

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