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HSBC trials confidential computing to boost global trade finance

HSBC and not-for-profit blockchain tech consortium Global Shipping Business Network (GSBN) have carried out a proof-of-concept using "confidential computing" for trade finance.

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HSBC trials confidential computing to boost global trade finance

Editorial

This content has been selected, created and edited by the Finextra editorial team based upon its relevance and interest to our community.

GSBN has set its sights on fixing the growing trillion-dollar trade finance gap by overhauling the paper-based process that banks go through to understand clients' businesses.

Confidential computing is the latest in privacy-enhancing technology designed to protect data at the hardware level. While GSBN’s platform is built upon blockchain technology with strict access policies, there are scenarios that require more complex data collaboration processes.

Trade finance is one such scenario in which banks need alternative and aggregated insights from various entities involved in the supply chain of a customer to build a holistic understanding. In particular, shipment records can shed lights on business operations in terms of volume and business nature, which are valuable insights that help banks tailor appropriate financing that cater to the working capital needs of their customers.

The GSBN-HSBC PoC investigates data collaboration that allows the aggregation of shipping records across shipping lines through the use of a data clean room harnessing confidential computing technology.

In the PoC, synthetic shipment details provided by carriers via GSBN are aggregated and processed in the clean room, where HSBC can access the statistics to gain a better understanding of customers’ shipping activities.

This strips away sensitive or unnecessary information as well as increasing the representativeness of the statistics enabled by the aggregation of data across multiple parties.

Moreover, says GSBN, the combined use of blockchain and confidential computing technologies ensures ease of insight sharing while maintaining a high level of privacy, security, and auditability throughout the data lifecycle.

Aditya Gahlaut, MD, head of global trade and receivables finance, Hong Kong and Macau, HSBC, says: “Alternative data opens a new path to simplifying trade finance as it allows banks to gain more timely, accurate and relevant insights of clients’ activities."

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