Trade finance is a complex scenario spanning multiple subjects and links, involving a wide range of industries and a long transaction chain. It needs mutual trust and sharing. In order to break the barriers of information isolation and improve the level of mutual trust and facilitation of trade financing, the people’s Bank of China has launched a trade finance blockchain platform, which is widely connected with the information of tax, customs, foreign exchange and other departments, so as to effectively boost the financing and trust of small and medium-sized enterprises.
When banks handle trade financing business for customers, if they manually review and count paper trade financing documents, it will not only have high verification cost, but also difficult to ensure the accuracy of information. Repeated financing and false financing often occur.
“Trade finance requires multiple transaction subjects to share information, and the transaction frequency is not high, which naturally matches the technical characteristics of blockchain.” Di Gang, deputy director of the digital currency Research Institute of the people’s Bank of China, introduced that on September 4, 2018, based on the blockchain underlying technology independently developed by the Digital Research Institute, the central bank’s trade finance blockchain platform was put into trial operation in Shenzhen. After enterprises enter transaction information, the information will not be tampered with, and banks can share information with other departments.
Experts said that each trade scenario can solve the information island by establishing a blockchain. However, in the absence of industry consensus technical and business standards and mature and reliable cross chain technology, a new information island will be formed between chains, resulting in the fragmentation of business lines. Therefore, the establishment of this cross sectoral and cross scenario trade finance platform led by the central bank is of great significance.
Fan Yifei, vice president of the people’s Bank of China, once said that the people’s Bank of China will actively work with all parties to continuously optimize and improve financial infrastructure by using scientific and technological means, enable financial services to improve quality and efficiency, support the transformation and upgrading of the financial system structure and the efficient allocation of financial resources, and greatly improve the service capacity of finance to the real economy.
The reporter learned from the people’s Bank of China that as a financial infrastructure, the central bank’s tradefund platform gives play to the characteristics of neutrality, professionalism and authority, and uses the three capabilities of peer-to-peer interconnection, inclusive docking and controllable sharing provided by the blockchain to further clarify the ownership relationship of data and reduce the threshold of data acquisition, To a certain extent, the “total to total” data sharing among multiple ministries and commissions has been realized.
In November 2019, the rediscount fast track project of the central bank was launched into the chain, which once again enriched the business scenario of the central bank’s trade finance platform. Xing Yujing, President of Shenzhen central sub branch of the people’s Bank of China, introduced that the central bank’s trade finance platform has run a number of businesses such as multi-level financing of supply chain accounts receivable, cross-border financing, international trade account supervision, foreign payment tax filing form and so on.
The platform has been online for more than a year, and the number of connected banks and enterprises is increasing. According to the data, as of mid January 2020, 44 banks and 485 outlets had participated in the promotion and application, 1898 enterprises had business, more than 30000 businesses had been linked, more than 8000 businesses had occurred, and the cumulative business volume exceeded 90 billion yuan.
According to relevant sources of the central bank’s Research Institute, after the launch of the central bank’s trade finance platform, the efficiency of obtaining loans for small and medium-sized enterprises on the platform has been greatly improved, the time required to handle trade financing has been shortened from more than 10 days offline to more than 20 minutes, and the enterprise financing cost has also been reduced to less than 6%, which helps to alleviate the difficulties faced by small and medium-sized enterprises. At the same time, the use of technical means can reduce personnel exchanges and improve work efficiency.
According to relevant people of the central bank, the central bank’s trade fund platform has started the process of international expansion. In November 2019, one belt, one road central trading platform, was signed by the central bank trading platform and Hongkong trading linkage platform Co. Ltd. to start the interconnection between the two trading platforms, and set up a bridge for digital trade financing for the main trade entities of different economies.
The reporter learned that at present, the docking of the two platforms has gone deep into the landing stage of technical details. In the future, the central bank’s trade finance platform will connect similar platforms of more countries and international organizations to form a widely connected global trade financing highway.
In the process of practice, the construction and development of the central bank’s trade finance platform are also facing challenges. According to experts, there are still some technical problems in cross chain interoperability, digital identity construction, blockchain privacy protection and other aspects of the central bank’s trade finance platform. It is necessary to gather domestic top academic institutions and resources to jointly study key issues in the construction of trade finance ecology, such as the trusted sharing of multi-source data and the process reconstruction of trade finance in the digital economy.
Therefore, led by the Institute of statistics of the Central Bank of China, together with financial institutions and academic research units such as the credit investigation center of the central bank and Beijing financial assets exchange, we jointly applied for the demonstration project of R & D and application of key technologies of the trade finance open platform. Recently, the project was approved as a key special project of the national key R & D plan and supported by relevant funds and policies at the national level.
At present, the central bank’s trade fund platform is accelerating ecological construction and national promotion. Di Gang said that after receiving the national high-standard project support, the platform will continue to take serving the real economy, preventing and controlling financial risks and deepening financial reform as the key task and core goal, build a new generation of financial infrastructure in the mode of co construction, co management and co governance, and help China’s high-quality economic development.
Responsible editor: CT