Nordic private banking institution Nordea is expanding its offering of the blockchain-based trading platform we.trade to its small and middle-sized business customers (SMEs), according to a press release on May 9.
The platform will purportedly help address trust deficits extant in current cross-border trades made by SMEs. Patrik Zekkar, Global Head of Trade Finance and Working Capital Management at Nordea, explained:
“Almost 60 percent of the SME’s said that they have to make advance payments so there is obviously a sense of insecurity surrounding cross-border trade. This is unfortunate, not only from a liquidity standpoint, it may also lead to companies refraining from trading and not growing.”
Through the we.trade platform, users can select certain events within a smart contract that will trigger a payment to another party.
We.trade is a joint project of 12 different banks including Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Santander, Société Générale and UniCredit, and is based on the IBM Blockchain platform. We.trade began its first live operations in June 2018. Nordea joined the project in 2017 and soft-launched it for select customers last month.
Nordea is a major private bank in the Nordic region. As of 2016, the firm had a total equity of over 32.4 billion euro, with a net income of 3.7 billion euro that same year.
While Nordea is accepting of blockchain technology, it takes a hard line against cryptocurrencies. In January 2018, the bank banned its employees from owning bitcoin (BTC). Following the announcement of the ban, Danish finance and workers’ rights figures threatened legal action.
The bank also shuttered the account of Norwegian cryptocurrency exchange Bitmynt AS in December 2017. The founder of Bitmynt sued Nordea, but lost his case in May 2018.