HK’s Official Blockchain Platform eTradeConnect to Terminate Operations

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA)-backed eTradeConnect, a trade finance platform built on blockchain technology and supported by a group of twelve prominent banks, is set to cease operations by month’s end. Launched officially on October 31, the platform’s primary functions were to digitalize trade documents, streamline trade finance operations, and utilize blockchain capabilities to bolster efficiency and foster trust within the trade community.

Its origins date back to October 2017, when the HKMA unveiled plans for this trade finance venture, buoyed by the positive outcomes of a preliminary proof-of-concept test. Initially dubbed the Hong Kong Trade Finance Platform, eTradeConnect marked a significant stride for the city, being its inaugural multi-bank blockchain project.

The collaborative effort began with seven leading banks, such as Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited and Hang Seng Bank Limited. This group later grew with the inclusion of five more banks, culminating in a consortium of twelve.

In a bid to facilitate cross-border trades, the HKMA had previously sought opportunities to connect eTradeConnect with trade platforms in other regions. A notable development was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between eTradeConnect and Europe’s platform to conduct a trial on connecting the two platforms. This collaboration aimed to pave the way for the digitalization of cross-border trades in the Asia and Europe trade corridor.

Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr. Howard Lee, had remarked on the significance of the platform, emphasizing its role in the new era of smart banking and the potential for connecting with other global trade finance platforms.

However, despite its promising start and the potential for bridging trade finance barriers between Europe and Asia, eTradeConnect has seen a decline in usage, leading to its impending closure. The platform’s official website has confirmed the termination of its services, with further plans to terminate the platform trademarks and the website domain after Q3 2024.

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