Blockchain is enabling innovation; collaboration will drive it forward


Momentum is building behind the digitisation of trade finance and Societe Generale is taking a leading position in that trend.

Technological advances - blockchain in particular - have enabled real progress, and willingness to embrace digitisation has grown in line.

A key historical obstacle to delivering digital straight-through processing has been the number of parties involved, but thanks to its distributed aspect, blockchain brings security and trust between all parties involved at every stage of the process.

At Societe Generale, we decided to collaborate with our business partners from across Europe on a range of innovative, blockchain-powered solutions for trade finance.  We are currently playing a central role in developing three tools, which will be delivered by the end of 2018, along with the development of a third:

  • We.Trade , a distributed platform enabling secure account flows between European SMEs
  • Newco, an energy post trade platform digitising the sales contract and physical flows processes
  • Easy Trade Connect, an extension of our research on the digitisation of the energy trade finance value chain with the completion of a new prototype tool for soft commodities partnering with ING, ABN Amro and Louis Dreyfus Company. 

Overall, we aim to build an entire ecosystem for trade finance and these tools are a fundamental part of that where each addresses different client needs:

  • With We.Trade, we cover a range of diverse businesses in Europe, and aim to offer a new solution to clients who don’t have simple solutions to secure their trade transactions as of today.
  • In commodities, we can fully digitize the whole process at all stages, taking into account all manner of events for specific kinds of trading, replacing transactions currently covered by paper trade instruments.

Our agile approach has shown that industry and technology are both ready to move on.  2018 will see things progress from the proof of concept stage to production-ready solutions.  Collaboration, cooperation and experimentation (or learning by doing) are key to transforming the trade finance market structure. 

The industry is ready to move forward, and Societe Generale will continue to drive innovation with its business partners.

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The enhanced Easy Trading Connect (ETC) blockchain prototype reduces time spent on processing documents and data from hours to minutes, and allows for a larger trading scope