Blockchain letters of credit (L/Cs) are specifically contemplated in a new guide published by the body that develops and maintains US and international standards for the financial services industry.

Published by the Accredited Standards Committee X9 (ASC X9), Blockchain Risk Assessment Framework is intended as a "quick-start" guide for what needs to be considered when assessing existing systems or planning a new blockchain system.

Practical guide

For those seeking to understand how to perform an accurate assessment of risk for this new system technology, the guide aims to provide digestible, useful and practical information for identifying how blockchain systems differ from the traditional, widely understood tools.

It poses questions to help expose areas of risk that might have gone unnoticed without a clear understanding of these differences.

Financial institutions

The report is aimed at financial institutions using or contemplating blockchain or distributed ledger technology (DLT) applications, such as issuing L/Cs, reducing manual documentation processes in trading activity, or handling data shared with multiple parties.

It is also aimed at those using the technology to support back-office data management and to simplify and distribute recordkeeping.

US and international standards

The guide aims to be an important reference for both experts and novices. "Whether they are assessing an existing blockchain system, or developing and planning a new system, it helps readers understand the risks and key questions," says vice president of the payments, standards and outreach group at the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Guy Berg.

ASC X9 is a non-profit organisation accredited by the American National Standards Institute to develop and maintain national and - through ISO - international standards for the financial services industry.

The new guide is available for download at no charge from the ASC X9 web site at

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