One of the best known developers of digital letters of credit (L/Cs), the Contour blockchain trade finance network, is terminating its operations, Global Trade Review (GTR) has reported.

Contour has been unable to raise sufficient funds from its bank shareholders to continue to sustain itself according to GTR, which says it has seen a memo to its members dated 27 October in which the network says it will be discontinuing operations permanently as of 30 November.

Contour history

Established in 2020, Contour is a global network of banks, corporates and trade partners formed with an ambition to revolutionise the trade finance industry.

Led by a group of major trade banks including ANZ, BNP Paribas, HSBC, and Standard Chartered, the network set out to build a new global standard for trade, hoping to remove barriers and transform trade finance products, starting with L/Cs.

As well as some of the world's leading banks, Contour's integration and documentation partners included Bolero, Finastra and Surecomp.

Platform failures

Just a year ago, Contour snapped up significant assets of another failed trade finance platform when it acquired the rulebook and other associated legal documents from the Innovation DAC joint-venture company owned by 12 European banks (DC World News, 14 September 2022).

Other recently collapsed trade finance platforms that have been unable to sustain themselves include Marco Polo, in which ING, BNP Paribas and SMBC had significant stakes, and the IBM-Maersk blockchain effort, TradeLens.

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