BIS highlights decentralization and distributed ledgers with trade finance digitization competition

The Bank of International Settlements's Innovation Hub is partnering with the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on a new tech-focused competition centered around the digitization of trade finance.

The BIS said in an announcement post on August 3 that it will be accepting prospective submissions until the end of the month. Participating judges will make their initial selections over the course of September and early October, with some participants being invited to give presentations between October 12 and 15. Projects that advance beyond that stage will be invited to develop full prototypes in a sandbox environment in 2021. 

The goal of the competition, according to its organizers, is to "showcase the potential for new innovative technologies to resolve problems in trade finance." Explainer materials cast a wide net as to the technologies that could be employed, but appear to make special mention of those that center around decentralization and distributed ledger/blockchains in particular.

"Trade finance is a complex topic with insufficiently harmonised digitisation across the value chain. By the same token, there is no single solution that can solve all the pain points. To leverage the diversity of innovation and digitisation under way on this topic globally, solution providers are free to suggest any technology approaches they consider suitable to address one or more of the problem statements, including decentralised approaches based on blockchain/ Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT)," the organizers note.