Blockchain bank group We.trade raises €5.5m

1 Feb 2021613 Views

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The Dublin-based consortium will use the funds to further develop its IBM-powered platform for cross-border trading.

We.trade, the Dublin-based consortium of global banks developing uses cases for blockchain, has raised €5.5m.

The group is made up of more than a dozen banks including Deutsche Bank, Santander, HSBC and KBC, which all fund the project’s development. IBM is also a backer.

Established in Dublin in 2017, the team develops blockchain-based solutions for the financial services sector, which are then used by the consortium’s banks and others in day-to-day functions such as facilitating cross-border trades between businesses. The group builds on IBM’s blockchain platform and Linux’s Hyperledger Fabric.

CRIF, the Italian credit bureau and business information firm, has invested in the company with a deal that will see We.trade partner up with CRIF’s database platform SkyMinder.

“We’re very pleased that CRIF is joining We.trade as an additional non-banking investor, further enlarging the ecosystem,”  Omer Ahsan, chair of We.trade, said. “CRIF’s market-leading business information and ratings services perfectly complement We.trade’s vision to make it easier for buyers and sellers to trade goods and services.”

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The Irish Times and Global Trade Review report that CRIF has invested €2.5m in We.trade’s latest funding round, while existing backers including HSBC and Santander invested around €3m.

IBM invested in We.trade last year to bolster its standing in the blockchain space. The tech giant’s blockchain platform is already in use in other projects such as TradeLens, a digital supply chain solution, and IBM Food Trust, which is used for tracking food supplies.

We.trade’s Dublin operations were headed up by Ciaran McGowan, previously of AIB and KBC, but he has recently left the company. Since he took the reins in 2019, the group has been revising its business strategy to incorporate a broader range of transactions

“What was built initially was very much a closed system between the banks and the SMEs, whereas what we need to architect and deliver is a more open system where we can connect through every part of the value chain,” McGowan previously said.

The group has been adding new banks to its consortium and its roster of banks that have licensed the technology. However, no Irish banks have signed up to the group.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin

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