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Commodity Merchant Louis Dreyfus Trials Blockchain for Soybean Trade

Louis Dreyfus, a major commodities trading company, has announced that it has piloted a blockchain-based transaction system developed by a group of financial institutions including ING.

In addition to Louis Dreyfus, one of the world’s largest commodities traders, the test involved Shandong Bohi Industry Co., Ltd (Bohi) and financial institutions ING, Societe Generale and ABN Amro. The Easy Trade Connect (ETC) platform, as previously reported by CoinDesk, grew out of efforts at ING and has been subject to testing by firms like Mercuria.

Yet instead of oil, the latest test focused on agricultural products such as soybeans, of which Bohi is a significant trader. According to the companies that took part, the test involved a shipment of soybeans from the U.S. to China, with all of the relevant documentation (including the sales contract and the letter of credit) existing within the platform.

Shipping firms Russell Marine Group and Blue Water Shipping also took part, according to today’s announcement.

“Distributed ledger technologies have been evolving rapidly, bringing more efficiency and security to our transactions, and immense expected benefits for our customers and everyone along the supply chain as a result,” Gonzalo Ramírez Martiarena, Louis Dreyfus’ CEO, said in a statement.

In remarks, Martiarena suggested that the company would play a role in future developments around the project, including on the standardization front.

“The next step is to harness the potential for further development through the adoption of common standards, and welcome a truly new era of digital trade flow management on a global level,” he was quoted as saying.

Soybean farm image via Shutterstock

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Shell, BP Among Energy Giants to Back Blockchain Trading Platform

Several major energy firms are partnering on a new blockchain-based trading platform.

BP, Shell and Statoil are backing the platform, which represents the latest application of the tech to the energy space. The consortium of firms built around the platform also includes ING, ABN Amro and Societe Generale, as well as trading firms, Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria.

The idea is that the blockchain-powered platform for energy trading will eventually be open to all market participants. Those involved in the effort say it will controlled by an independent entity, with a plan to be fully operational before the end of 2018.

The energy industry has become more complex as new entities have entered the industry, ING representative Carolien van der Giessen told CoinDesk in an email, explaining:

“Earlier this year another joint initiative among some members of the consortium (ING, Mercuria, and Societe Generale) presented compelling results with what we understand to be the first blockchain prototype test in the sector. The experiment involved an oil cargo shipment containing African crude oil which was on its way to China. The results of the experiment demonstrated that a blockchain based platform can greatly improve the efficiency of certain processes.”

With several of the world’s largest energy suppliers taking part, the hope is it will establish a platform that will attract market participants of all sizes to one platform.

There have been several experiments in using a blockchain to track energy trading, such as one by BP and Eni in gas trading, which Reuters reported this summer. Enel and E.on have also conducted trials using Ponton’s blockchain platform, and o of Australia’s largest electricity providers is currently testing a platform called Power Ledger.

Oil pump image via Shutterstock.

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Have breaking news or a story tip to send to our journalists? Contact us at news@coindesk.com.