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IBM and UBS Initiative ‘Batavia’ Is off to a Good Start

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Batavia, a blockchain-based global trading platform, has successfully completed its first cross-border transaction, as reported by Coindesk. Using smart contracts, every step of the trade took place on the distributed ledger automatically. A total of two sales were made: purchase of car and raw textile components from Germany to Spain and Austria to Spain, respectively.

Jason Kelley, IBM Blockchain Services leader, said, “The members of Batavia have demonstrated how sharing data among permissioned network members can accelerate cross-border trades and bring new transparency to the financial system, both in real-time and at scale.”

The platform was first announced in a press release in October 2017 – the result of a collaboration between IBM and Swiss Bank UBS. Other banks that joined the initiative included Bank of Montreal (BMO), CaixaBank, Commerzbank and Erste Group. True to its promises, the first test was recorded in the first half of 2018.

Designed to support more efficient, transparent and cost effective transactions, the new global trade financing platform will help organizations more easily build multi-party, cross-border trading networks worldwide. Batavia will allow transacting parties to view the progress of a shipment as it leaves the warehouse, is loaded onto a plane, truck or boat and arrives at the receiving port, automatically releasing payments incrementally along each step of the process.

Batavia aims to cut down on documentation to allow customers to trade within a few hours or seconds. Transactions can be conduced safely and transparently since blockchain records can neither be forged nor deleted. Beat Bannwart, Head Strategic Innovation & Market Development, Corporate & Institutional Clients at UBS, said, “Today, the process of securing and financing trade is highly cumbersome for corporates. Through working closely with our clients, we aim to innovate their user experience through a simple, digital and automated way of arranging, securing and financing their international trade transactions by leveraging new technology and creating an open ecosystem.”

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