Standard Bank has become the first bank in Africa to join the Contour blockchain trade finance network as it looks to expand its offering beyond standard letters of credit (L/Cs).

Head of trade product management at the bank, Kevin Holmes, says being part of blockchain platform's beta network, "opens up our connections with Contour's other participants, giving us greater access to the opportunities to manage our trade finance business."

Standby L/Cs and guarantees

By joining the network Standard Bank hopes to benefit from direct connectivity with other blockchain and traditional partner networks, allowing the bank to digitise its trade finance processes.

Contour has said that as it scales its digital network, its offering will expand beyond standard L/Cs to standby L/Cs and guarantees.

Disruptive technology

According to Contour, the African continent is in a unique position to leapfrog other more developed markets through the use of its disruptive technology.

The company also believes that as the world adapts to social distancing and remote working in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the use of paper-based processes will become increasingly problematic.

This article represents the views of the author and not necessarily those of the ICC or Coastline Solutions.