Japan’s 3rd Largest Bank by Assets Joins R3 Marco Polo Blockchain Network

Major Japanese bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), will leverage R3’s Marco Polo blockchain network for trade finance, local cryptocurrency news outlet CoinDesk Japan reported on April 25.

SMBC, which is Japan’s third-largest bank by assets, plans to roll out blockchain services in the second half of 2019.

Other currency members of Marco Polo, which is powered by R3’s Corda enterprise blockchain platform, include banks such as BNP Paribas and ING.

The product successfully conducted its first trade finance operations in March, an operation involving two German firms and local bank Commerzbank.

“Trade finance […] is very complicated, and many of the documents necessary for trade transactions are paper-based and complex,” SMBC’s vice chairman, Yasuyuki Kawasaki, said while announcing the news at a Tokyo fintech seminar.

“This time-consuming process has been going on for 100 years. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation has joined Marco Polo to build a global platform, and is preparing to provide new services later this year.”

Various trade finance schemes are under development worldwide, with China this week announcing a partnership of its own involving a subsidiary of its central bank, the People’s Bank of China.

French lender Societe Generale, meanwhile, used the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain to issue bonds worth 100 million euros this month.