UK bank NatWest today announced that it has joined Marco Polo, a trade finance network created by FinTech platform TradeIX and enterprise blockchain software firm R3, in a bid to dramatically reduce the costs, risks and time involved in businesses trading with each other.
“The momentum around Marco Polo continues to build. We’re delighted to see NatWest join the growing network of financial institutions working together with R3 and TradeIX to bring much-needed transparency and efficiency to trade finance,” said David E. Rutter, CEO of R3, in a statement.
NatWest joins other banks that have adopted the platform, including BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING, Standard Chartered Bank, Natixis, Bangkok Bank, SMBC, DNB and OP Financial Group. NatWest is working with TradeIX and R3 to make trade finance more transparent and increase connections between banks.
Rowan Austin, Head of Trade & Working Capital Product at NatWest said, in a statement: “We are really excited to be joining the Marco Polo network and making an important step forward that will help reduce much of the time, expense and uncertainty in conducting international trade. We want to leverage distributed ledger technology for our clients and the best way to achieve this is through global collaboration with other financial institutions and leading technology providers.”
One of the key goals of the Marco Polo platform, launched in February this year, is to provide a global digital platform, enabling banks to coordinate their systems in a more cohesive way. By bringing together the physical, information and financial supply chains with digital trade data, the platform is able to minimize risk, increase transparency and create easier access to lines of credit.
Daniel Cotti, CFO and Bank Partner Relationships at TradeIX, said, in a statement, that corporate clients are looking for platforms that can accelerate corporate growth. They believe that, by using an asset-agnostic trade finance engine which supports the entire asset lifecycle, these platforms can improve working capital.
R3 raised USD 107 million in 2017 to bring blockchain harmony to the financial sector. However, last month saw concerns surface that the startup may be running out of money.