The first ever export trade through a blockchain platform in New Zealand was successfully completed by ASB Bank, VerifyUnion, a Kiwi meat exporter called Greenlea, and a Korean importer.
According to a recent report, the trade was essentially a proof of concept to demonstrate how a secure blockchain platform can help exporters conduct business, guarantee data integrity, and remove fraud risk.
The blockchain platform, which offers a ‘single trade window’, was developed by VerifyUnion.
Having a ‘single trade window’ meant that all documents including certificates and invoices can be exchanged through one touchpoint.
With the current documentation process, of physical papers being couriered back and forth between bank and client, it normally takes around 8 days to complete.
Moreover, it also means that both sides have to trust that the physical documents have not been tampered with.
With blockchain, the documentation timeframe for New Zealand exporters can be reduced. Also, risks such as cybersecurity threats and fraud can be mitigated.
Using the blockchain platform removes the weak spots and ensures the integrity of the data, particularly if the company is exporting to 40 different countries.
Furthermore, the instant translation capability of the platform limits any misunderstandings or human error among all involved, especially with businesses based in different countries and time zones.
Participation from the Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Primary Industries and the New Zealand Meat Board were required during the pilot trade.
Insurance companies that include Vero, a document processing company called Prodoc as well as local and international banks also joined.
Other significant capabilities of the blockchain platform worth mentioning are its traceability and scalability across the whole supply chain ecosystem, which gave all the partners in the process a competitive advantage.
New Zealand exporters need to be more proactive about using technology to protect the country’s brand and product reputation.
For instance, when a buyer in Korea opens a carton of meat they would want to know that it is genuine New Zealand beef.
Part of the solution being developed, which is a major benefit of the blockchain system, is allowing the customers to see when the cow was born, what farm, which feed, the kill date, and how it was transported.
Exporters are also concerned about cyberattacks and man-in-the-middle attacks.
Hackers replace bank account details in documentation, thereby resulting to paying the criminals with the funds instead of the intended recipient.
Also, couriers and email for ‘last mile’ documentation have always been sources of cost and possible fraud.
New Zealand can also leverage on this opportunity and position itself as a cybersecurity leader.
There has been a lot of hype about blockchain technology but New Zealand has successfully piloted a real working product that could change the way things are done all over the globe.