Blockchain technology’s tamper-proof and distributed nature will be key to building mutual trust and enabling lower cost trade solutions that will allow small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to benefit from the coming economic recovery, Geoff Jiang of AntChain said recently.

In a speech at the Economist’s Global Trade Week conference, Jiang, President of Ant’s Intelligent Technology Business Group said that AntChain, an Ant Group technology brand, is using blockchain to simplify global trade for small businesses. The conference was held this year from June 28 to July 2.

AntChain’s solutions are already seeing wide global adoption, from cross-border trade, to artwork and food authentication, to the sporting world. 

European football authorities adopted the AntChain platform as their global blockchain partner for the Euro 2020 and 2024 championships, launching the football world’s first blockchain-enabled trophy, designed by Ant Group, at yesterday’s EURO 2020 final. Cristiano Ronaldo won the Alipay Top Scorer Gold Trophy with a record of five goals and one assist. The trophy, known in previous years as the “Golden Shoe,” carries a link to a blockchain record of goals scored during the tournament. Patrik Schick won the silver trophy, and Karim Benzema the bronze.

Blockchain can also be used to digitize the full end-to-end trade value chain, bringing certainty and trust to all participants along the chain, said Jiang during his speech at the Economist event. Blockchain technologies, including distributed ledgers, smart contracts, and encryption, can ensure trade data is trusted and tamperproof, as well as supporting automated payments and payment processing in business workflows, he said.

These features will lower the threshold to cross-border trade and allow more small businesses to take part in international trade. He cited the example of AntChain’s digital platform for international trade and financial services, called Trusple, short for “trust made simple.”

Geoff Jiang talked about how blockchain can help build trust and simplify global trade in the keynote during the Economist Global Trade Week on June 30, 2021. (Image credit: AntChain)

The platform allows trading partners to encode contracts, payments, and shipping data onto a secure ledger, automatically transferring money when shipping conditions are fulfilled. The system reduces the need for record-keeping and much complicated banking procedures, allowing merchants to save time and bolster efficiency. 

Ant Group also shared the story of one of Trusple’s first customers on its official Medium page.

Yuan Jing’s China-based company, Jingcan Glass Products, specializes in glass crystal ornaments and semi-finished products that are often incorporated into clothing and accessories. 

Most of her company’s clients are located overseas in markets such as India, Pakistan, Central America, South America, Europe, and the United States. In the past, Yuan had to bear the risk if customers failed to pay on time, as well as spending time on administrative steps like confirming orders, confirming invoices, and confirming bank remittances. 

With Trusple, Ant said, all she has to do is sign the contract, and the ensuring steps will run automatically. Trusple’s technology allows the buyer’s and seller’s banks to process payment settlements automatically through smart contracts. This process not only automates the intensive and time-consuming processes that banks traditionally conduct to track and verify trade orders, it also ensures information is tamper-proof.

“Business owners don’t need to understand blockchain hash rates or smart-contract oracles,” Jiang said. “Instead, they can focus on running their businesses more efficiently, while Trusple provides them with the guarantees and management to ensure timely payment and delivery.”

Jiang compared blockchain technology to global communications and trade revolutions such as the telegraph and shipping containers. Like these technologies, he said, the application of the blockchain to the real world economy will revolutionize international trade by transforming the global movement of all digital commerce.

“The future we are building will be exciting for SMEs. Buyers, sellers, and their banks will have near frictionless processes and settlements through smart contracts,” Jiang said. “The future will be more complex, but we believe technology can continue to improve to tackle the complexity.”

Editor’s note: This article was supported by Ant Group. We believe in transparency in our publishing and monetization model. Read more here.