Trade finance has always been one possible application of irrevocability as a feature


Standard Chartered Plc is working with DBS Group Holdings Ltd. on developing distributed ledger technology for trade finance in Singapore, in a bid to make such transactions simpler and more transparent.

In pursuing the technology that underpins cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, Standard Chartered and DBS are developing a new approach that could improve the trade finance business by speeding up banking transactions, while cutting costs and boosting transparency. This is the world’s first application of distributed ledgers in trade finance, the banks said in an e-mailed statement also released Thursday.

Risks in the Asian trade-finance business were evident last year when London-based Standard Chartered took a $193 million write-off against its exposure to a metals warehouse fraud in China, which also hit Citigroup Inc. and Standard Bank Group Ltd. The incident involved a Chinese company pledging the same metals stockpiles to banks several times for loans.