The blockchain space has become well-known in the last decade, and especially in the previous several years after developers started discovering its potential alternative use cases. However, while blockchain and its supporters continuously promised radical transformations, most of what was actually delivered so far were prototypes and theoretical concepts.
With that being said, we.trade's CEO, Roberto Mancone, also made some promises regarding this technology. However, another well-known fact is that Mancone is not a type of person who promises something that cannot be delivered.
One such promise, made in early 2018, was that a blockchain platform dedicated to trading financial assets would go live by mid-2018. This is a promise that he kept, and the platform has been focusing on SME trading in several countries in Europe. After that, another promise was made in the same year, stating that we.trade will start operating outside Europe, which also came true as part of the company's expansion into Asia.
Another of Mancone's promises said that Batavia would cooperate with we.trade. This also happened, in a way. While Batavia doesn't exist anymore, three of its five banks started working with we.trade.
The point here is that Mancone tends to make wild promises, but he also delivers. Because of this, many have decided to listen to his predictions and promises regarding 2019, which he expects to be the year in which we.trade will forge numerous new partnerships. Mancone plans for we.trade to extend its reach in Asia and go for partnerships outside of the financial market.
That way, the platform will expand to include new territories, and create better opportunities for clients around the world. He believes that the clients do not require one big entity that will be responsible for everything. Instead, they want a group that would collaborate on providing a better user experience.
This is the reason why we. trade aims to connect to other similar platforms, instead of creating and licensing something themselves. It will be healthy for the company, while it will save time and energy as well. Not to mention that it is very difficult to even get a banking blockchain platform into production.
In other words, we.trade's mission in the new year will be to expand to Asia, which includes Singapore, India, the southeast Pacific region, and UAE. Meanwhile, the company is already working on expanding to Hong Kong, with a potential to start production by the end of Q1 2019.
we.trade potential partners
Mancone has already announced impressive goals for 2019, but the plans do not stop there. He also felt comfortable enough to announce who we.trade would like to partner with.
The first platform on the list is IBM, immediately followed by TradeLens, a DLT which operates Maersk's supply chain. Similarly to Batavia, TradeLens is also built via Hyperledger Fabric. As for IBM, it is already well-known for its global trade, but it is also we.trade's initial development partner. Because of that, it wouldn't come as a surprise if the two entered some form of cooperation in the near future.
IBM, Maersk, and TradeLens have already made connections all over the world during their own developments, and we.trade would be able to benefit a lot from collaborating with them. TradeLens is especially interesting to Mancone and we.trade, as their own goal is to create a trading platform, and not a trade finance platform.
Of course, Mancone recognizes that partnering up with these companies would require a lot of serious talks, constantly monitoring each other, and trying to determine the stages of each company's projects. However, as it turns out, Mancone is not the only one who is interested in seeing these partnerships becoming a reality.
IBM's blockchain global trade vice president, Todd Scott, stated that both we.trade and TradeLens have the potential to transform their industries completely and that their collaboration would be extremely valuable.
Mancone has also mentioned another platform with which we.trade would like to collaborate, which is TradeShift. TradeShift focuses on working with large corporations in order to make payments and procurement across supply chains simpler. The company's stance on the issue is currently unknown, as they were mostly quiet regarding the matters related to the blockchain.
Even so, Mancone revealed that there were talks between the companies and that it is possible that TradeShift will become a partner with we.trade at some point in 2019.
Potential obstacles along the way
It is important to note that we.trade is not exactly the same as typical enterprise blockchains, as it is a company, instead of a consortium. Because of this, license banks and the company's shareholders are more comfortable with the firm's governance structure.
As Mancone himself stated, none of the intellectual property is owned by any bank, which is the largest difference between we.trade and others. The company is the legal entity, and they own the IP, which can be provided to others without the need for them to become shareholders. Mancone also pointed out that the banks are in agreement with this way of conducting business.
In other words, everyone is at the same level, as the number of shareholders is not limited. At the same time, there is no need to waste large amounts of time around the table, negotiating different terms of the company's next move. However, one potential issue that might become an obstacle is the fact that TradeLens does not work that way, and its IP is divided between Maersk and IBM.
Even so, we.trade's development is currently outsourced to IBM, due to the company's desire to start with a large partner, before others decide to join. However, in the future, the company plans to create a new API infrastructure which will allow fintech firm to join the platform and improve it with their presence.
The biggest benefit of such a move would be the reduction of dependence on a single vendor. Instead, the company hopes to create an ecosystem. While we.trade's potential future partners clearly still operate in a different way than the company itself, Mancone remains optimistic regarding the future, convinced that there is a way for mentioned firms to collaborate and create something better.