Global banking consortium R3 has closed the largest funding round in the history of distributed ledger technology and says it is moving forward with trade finance solutions that will reduce fraud, increase transparency and enhance the shift away from paper records.

Over 40 financial institutions participated in the US$107m funding round in May, including existing significant investors, SBI Group, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC. Additional major investors include ING, Banco Bradesco, Itaú Unibanco, Natixis, Barclays, UBS and Wells Fargo.

Critical programmes

Now that it has funding in place, R3 is expected to press ahead with several critical pilot programmes.

One of these involves Japan’s Mizuho, which is reportedly now in the process of building what could be the first live implementation of R3’s Corda platform.

This is designed to test the consortium’s prognosis that this particular solution will reduce trade fraud, increase transparency and enhance the shift away from paper records.

Trade documents

Mizuho’s digital strategist, Ikuma Ueno, says the bank has used the Corda platform for past projects, but this pilot would be the first real-world test of the software.

According to Ueno, Mizuho will use Corda, developed by R3 in association with the US-based technology multinational Cognizant, to digitise documents, including letters of credit and bills of lading.

Progress elsewhere

Cognizant itself has been experimenting with different distributed ledger solutions while Mizuho has also been testing several platforms.

Other platforms are moving forward too. JPMorgan has released its own blockchain solution, called Quorum while a more recently formed consortium, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, has many members in common with R3.