Microsoft, an American multinational technology company and Interswitch Group, a Pan-African integrated digital payments and commerce company, have announced the launch of an innovative blockchain-based supply chain financing service.
The initiative will bring together entrepreneurs, major financial institutions and corporate organisations on a single platform to provide end-to-end visibility that will ensure fast and seamless trade financing in supply chain operations.
The Interswitch Blockchain Service (Supply Chain Financing Module), built and hosted using the Microsoft Azure Blockchain technology, provides a proven security, compliance and scalable cloud platform that accelerates and supports the next generation of blockchain applications.
Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Interswitch, Mitchell Elegbe said “in our 15 years of operation, we have experienced the bottlenecks associated with existing corporate based financing infrastructure in Nigeria. This is why we are happy to partner with Microsoft, by leveraging the advanced technology of Microsoft Azure Blockchain, to prove the possibility of building a distributed ledger that is practical, viable, and has the propensity to solve some of Nigeria’s most difficult financial and logistic problems”.
The launch of the Interswitch Blockchain Service (Supply Chain Financing Module), can help small to middle-sized businesses access more funding in a shorter time from participating banks such as United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (GTB) and Zenith Bank Plc.
Interswitch Blockchain service does not deploy the use of cryptocurrency in its application. Transaction enquiries and verifications will be handled by authorized officials from participating entities, without the incentives of a cryptocurrency.
Principal Program Manager, Microsoft Azure Blockchain at Microsoft Corporation, Michael Glaros said “we are excited about this partnership with Interswitch. This will be the first enterprise-grade blockchain service in Nigeria, and only one of a handful of production blockchain applications in use by banks and corporates globally. The blockchain technology is still in its infancy in Nigeria and we are happy to pioneer its deployment in partnership with Interswitch, an innovative forward thinking company which has evolved its business around financial technology”.