Contour has announced that HSBC has become the first bank to go live on its global trade finance network that provides digitised letters of credit (L/Cs).

Launched commercially in October, Contour's digital platform aims to provide users with significant efficiency and transparency gains compared with conventional L/C processing.

Future prospects

Contour says its development throughout 2020, with many successful transactions taking place during its platform's beta phase, has shown that digitising international trade offers considerable opportunities.

During 2021, Contour wants to make its services available to corporates and banks across a wide range of regions and industries.

HSBC collaboration

HSBC has worked with Contour since before inception as a project in the R3 consortium, to its founding as an independent company, and its beta network in January 2020.

With interoperability a big factor, Contour hopes that through HSBC's range of partners, the global financial institution will be able to decide which other technologies they can collaborate with on the network and further streamline their activity.

Contour says this may involve directly linking back-office systems to its network or digitising key documentation such as bills of lading.

L/C benefits

HSBC claims to be the first bank to have put a commercially viable L/C on a blockchain platform in 2018.

Using Contour's network, HSBC says it has been able to significantly reduce processing times for L/C presentations from between 7 to 10 days to as quickly as 24 hours.

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