According to Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Wells Fargo & Co, the first major bank international trade transaction through blockchain has occurred, resulting in a shipment of American cotton to China. Australian cotton trader Brighann Cotton Marketing bought the shipment bound for the port city Qingdao from U.S. division Brighann Cotton in Texas, the companies and their banks said in a joint statement. The blockchain trade, for 88 bales, totaled $35,000, Commonwealth Bank told Reuters.
Blockchain is a web-based transaction-processing and settlement system whose efficiency banks say could slash costs. It creates a "golden record" of any given set of data that is automatically replicated for all parties in a secure network, eliminating any need for third-party verification. "Existing trade finance processes are ripe for disruption and this proof of concept demonstrates how companies around the world could benefit from these emerging technologies," Michael Eidel, Commonwealth Bank's executive general manager for cashflow and transaction services, said in the statement. The transaction is not the first involving the decentralized database, used since 2009 for the digital currency bitcoin. But it is a milestone for the traditional banking industry which at first shied away from the technology, partly because it makes money flows harder for law enforcement agencies to track.