EdgeVerve Systems, a wholly owned product subsidiary of Infosys, Emirates NBD, a banking group in Middle East and ICICI Bank Limited, India’s largest private sector bank by consolidated assets, have announced the pilot launch of a blockchain network for international remittances and trade finance. Both, Emirates NBD and ICICI Bank run Finacle solutions suite and have leveraged the blockchain framework to route business transaction between the two entities for remittances and trade finance business.

Dr. Vishal Sikka, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director at Infosys, said: “Blockchain technology offers unprecedented opportunities to transform banking as we know it. Like any innovative technology, the usage of blockchain-based applications will gradually increase from early adopters to others who will join based on proven and tangible benefits. We are delighted to partner with ICICI Bank and Emirates NBD, who are innovation leaders in their respective regions. With this pilot, we are clearly a step closer to see mainstream adoption of blockchain-based applications. We look forward to further collaborations with our clients and other banks to create a blockchain-powered consortium in the financial services industry.”

Using the EdgeVerve Blockchain Framework for Financial Services, the network was successfully piloted on the UAE-India remittance corridor, one of the busiest corridors for both banks. The exercise was started eight weeks ago and additional use cases are being explored for the pilot. Both financial institutions have started the process towards a network consortium for further participation by interested member banks to expand the transaction network.

His Highness Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Emirates NBD, commented: “Our pilot project with Infosys Finance and ICICI bank, a first for the banking sector in the UAE, demonstrates blockchain’s immense potential to change how organizations and governments conduct business. We look forward to further collaboration with the public sector and our private peers to further adoption of this technology in the UAE.”

This framework is a permissioned asset-agnostic ledger, designed specifically for the banking sector. Blockchain-based applications built on this framework, can deliver enhanced automation across inter-organizational processes, transactional security and accuracy at a significantly lower cost.

As part of this pilot, remittances, trade finance purchase order and invoice financing processes were executed on the blockchain network. It achieved a near real-time transfer of invoices and purchase orders in a transparent and secure manner. The blockchain network has also been integrated with the Finacle Universal Banking Suite and other host systems within the application ecosystem in both banks

Ms. Chanda Kochhar, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at ICICI Bank, remarked: “ICICI Bank has a rich legacy of leveraging the latest technology to bring in new paradigms in banking. Akin to pioneering new technologies in the country like software robotics, mobility and near-field communication among others, I am delighted that we are the first bank in India and among few globally to set up a blockchain application. We have also marked a milestone by piloting a blockchain network with Emirates NBD and Infosys Finacle as partners and have successfully executed cross-border open account trade finance and remittance transactions. I envision that the emerging technology of blockchain will play a significant role in banking in the coming years by making complex bilateral and multi-lateral banking transactions seamless, quick and more secure. Going forward, we also intend to work on expanding the blockchain ecosystem and create common working standards to contribute to the commercial adoption of this initiative.”