Standard Chartered invests in blockchain-based open industry platform Contour

Maria Nikolova

Contour will initially focus on digitally creating, exchanging, approving and issuing Letters of Credit.

Standard Chartered today announced its investment in Contour, a blockchain-based open industry platform.

Contour will initially focus on digitally creating, exchanging, approving and issuing Letters of Credit (LCs), following the full commercialisation of its offering and appointment of CEO Carl Wegner. As one of the founding members, Standard Chartered will continue to collaborate with Contour, bringing its expertise and digital capabilities to deliver a faster and frictionless experience for clients accessing trade finance.

The platform aims to revolutionise documentary trade by transforming the previously paper intensive ways of working. By digitising the end-to-end process from the issuance of LCs to confirmation and documentation presentation, all trade participants can view real time updates on the progress of their transaction. The results of two live pilots with large clients in the petrochemicals industry conducted by Standard Chartered in Thailand and Singapore demonstrated greater transparency, improve cost efficiencies and reduced settlement risks across the supply chain, as well as quicker access to working capital.

In the next phase of development, Contour will seek to expand its ecosystem to include more banks, technology providers and other established trade finance networks, with the vision of becoming a new industry standard for the digitisation of global trade. To that end, Standard Chartered will be injecting its smart guarantee capabilities, which will enable the digitisation of the bank guarantees process from initiation to claim handling.

In July 2018, Standard Chartered announced its collaboration with Siemens on smart guarantees to create an end-to-end blockchain-based smart guarantees proposition in trade finance. In August 2019, it announced a collaboration with SAP Ariba to make its financial supply chain solutions easily accessible to businesses in the Asia Pacific region through Ariba Network. The bank most recently made a strategic investment into Chinese supply chain financing platform Linklogis, to enhance its joint supply chain ecosystem proposition and provide suppliers with access to affordable and convenient financing.

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