Dutch company KBC and IT specialist Cegeka, along with various other companies, have announced the successfully testing of Digital Trade Chain (DTC), a blockchain solution that facilitates secure international trade between SMEs. Many SMEs are dependent on import and export to grow their businesses; however, unlike large companies who use documentary credit as a way of reducing the risks involved, SMEs often lack a suitable solution. DTC is continuing to be developed by KBC and Cegeka who are negotiating with additional parties to make the platform more widely available and easier to access.
KBC’s new Digital Trade Chain application is a digital platform for managing, tracking and protecting domestic and international trade transactions between SMEs, and simplifying trade finance. DTC links parties, KBC and the counterparty’s bank. The app registers the entire trade process from order to payment, displaying it in an at-a-glance flowchart and guaranteeing payment when all contractual agreements have been met. Due to blockchain technology, the platform is fully automated and available 24/7, so the order-to-payment process is much quicker than the traditional exchange of documents. It also requires far less back-office administration.
The solution was first assessed by 17 SMEs in different sectors and then tested by Bru Textiles and Aristide, two textile companies in Kontich. Importers and exporters were positive about the user-friendliness and the clear transaction process, with DTC accessible on a PC, tablet or smartphone. Testing and customer surveys provided feedback on further improving the application, the feasibility of which is currently being assessed by KBC and Cegeka. If further tests confirm the success of the initial trials, KBC will launch the application on the market.
Cegeka’s expertise in blockchain technologyled KBC chose to the IT company. KBC and a number of banks in Belgium’s neighbouring countries and its core Central European markets are currently exploring how this app can help to facilitate and boost international trade between SMEs.
Luc Gijsens, KBC Group International Markets CEO, remarked: ‘SMEs are having to run their businesses differently in an increasingly digital age. KBC aims to give them innovative solutions to gear up to an increasingly digital environment. This successful DTC trial shows that blockchain technology offers a number of opportunities that we want to continue testing and developing.’