BAML and Microsoft enter new blockchain collaboration

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 27 September 2016
BAML and Microsoft enter new blockchain collaboration

Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have entered a new collaboration around blockchain technology, with the aim of transforming trade finance transacting.

Revealed at this week’s Sibos conference in Geneva, Switzerland, the collaboration will see the two companies work together to build and test technology, create frameworks, and establish a series of best practices for exchanges between businesses, customers and banks – all powered by blockchain technology.

Experts from Microsoft Treasury will advise and serve as initial test client, marking the first Microsoft Azure-powered blockchain transaction between a corporate treasury and a financial institution.

Amy Hood, executive vice president and chief financial officer at Microsoft, said of the new collaboration: “By working with Bank of America Merrill Lynch on cloud-based blockchain technology, we aim to increase efficiency and reduce risk in our own treasury operations. Businesses across the globe – including Microsoft – are undergoing digital transformation to grow, compete and be more agile, and we see significant potential for blockchain to drive this transformation.”

Blockchain technology helps digitise and automate trade finance processes. Transaction settlement times are shorter, and businesses and financial institutions can benefit from more predictable working capital, greater operational efficiency and enhanced audit transparency.

“The potential benefits of blockchain will help drive meaningful supply-chain efficiencies to the clients of both Microsoft and the bank,” said Ather Williams, head of Global Transaction Services at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “This project is another example of our continued commitment to introduce financial innovations for the betterment of global commerce.”

The development and testing of the initial application is in progress, and teams from Microsoft and Bank of America Merrill Lynch will be demonstrating the technology at Sibos 2016 this week.

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