Dutch and French banks as well as one of the world's largest agricultural merchants have completed what they say is the world's first foodstuff transaction to use the distributed ledger-based digital technology known as blockchain.

Letters of credit (L/Cs) were amongst the documents digitised in the transaction that involved a shipment of US soybeans to China.


Parties in the deal included Rotterdam-based agricultural merchant Louis Dreyfus who arranged the shipment of soybeans to China's Shandong Bohi Industry.

ING Group and ABN Amro of the Netherlands and France's Société Générale helped the buyer and seller use digitised documents for the deal that, as well as L/Cs, included contracts, government inspections and certifications.


The transaction, which mirrored the paper-based process, demonstrated significant efficiency improvements for all participants in the chain according to a statement issued by Louis Dreyfus.

It said that time spent on processing documents and data was reduced fivefold while other benefits included the ability to monitor the operation's progress in real time, data verification, reduced risk of fraud and a shorter cash cycle.

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