Mastercard Joins R3’s Marco Polo Network to Advance Global Trade

American financial services titan Mastercard announced they’ve partnered Marco Polo, a trade finance network on R3’s Corda blockchain platform. Together with more than 25 member banks, the network is working to unlock what the World Trade Organization has identified as a potential $1.5 trillion opportunity in global trade finance.

Marco Polo Network was launched back in 2017, by leaders of the financial sector and technology companies TradeIX and R3, all in order to propel trade and working capital finance innovation.

Marco Polo uses R3’s Corda and the TradeIX distributed trade finance platform in order to issue an open enterprise software platform for trade and working capital finance to banks and conglomerates. The network promises real-time connectivity, greater visibility for trading relationships and lower barriers to accessing capital.

With this partnership, Mastercard joins other members including BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, ING, LBBW, Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Natixis, Bangkok Bank, SMBC, Danske Bank, NatWest, DNB etc.

Daniel Cotti, Managing Director, Center of Excellence, Banking & Trade at TradeIX said:

“The scale and reach of Mastercard will complement and enable the large number of financial service providers who have pioneered the formation of the Marco Polo network over the past couple of years.”

As a member of the Marco Polo network, Mastercard will connect its B2B global trade empowered platform, Mastercard Track, with the blockchain-based network all in order to provide more deals with trusted entrance to Marco Polo’s trade and working capital finance solutions.

And even though it’s still in a pilot phase, Marco Polo has been slowly releasing trade transaction services. Recently, Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by total assets, joined the Marco Polo Network in order to develop trade finance solutions alongside above mentioned major global financial institutions.

Jacques Levet, transaction banking head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa at BNP Paribas commented:

“Better flow of information across the whole value chain has the potential to drive significant benefits for all network members.”

Also, last month Marco Polo ensured a system that lets real-time payments be made by a third party.

Back in March, LBBW and Commerzbank, two major German banking institutions, successfully completed a trade transaction for two engineering companies. At that time KSB SE, a manufacturing firm, and Voith, a technology company, were the only parties to the trade. The recent test has seen a different firm, Logwin AG joining the transaction on the blockchain and also triggering payment.

Speaking on the success of the transaction, Voith’s Head of Guarantees and Trade Finance, Gerald Böhm, then explained that a transaction which included acquisition, exportation, and delivery, was facilitated entirely through blockchain.

Launched last year, Mastercard Track unites access to business identity information through a secure, allowed depository of more than 210 million registered bodies around the world. It lessens the time it takes for businesses to become recognized, screen and engage new possible trading partners and clarifies the end-to-end payment process.

Claire Thompson, EVP Enterprise Partnerships at Mastercard, said that by connecting their Mastercard Track platform with a leading group such as Marco Polo they are further lowering the barriers to access trade finance for business of all sizes globally.

“We’re excited about scaling a connected digital trade ecosystem together.”

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