By Anatol Antonovici

UK-based blockchain venture VAKT launched its commodity trading platform this Wednesday, shareholder Gunvor Group told Reuters. Currently, the platform focuses on oil trading, allowing companies that physically trade BFOET crude oil to streamline processes and benefit from improved security.

VAKT is claimed to be the world’s first blockchain-based commodity trading platform that is fully operational and aimed at enterprises.

In November 2017, we reported that VAKT had been launched by a group of banking giants, oil companies, and commodity trading firms, including British Petroleum (BP), Equinor, Royal Dutch Shell, Gunvor, and Mercuria, which currently act as the first users of the platform.

In January of next year, VAKT will become available to the wider market. Other shareholders include banks like ING, Societe Generale, and ABN Amro.

VAKT was designed to digitize the documents shared between the entities involved in an oil trade deal. Previously, the parties had to operate with tons of papers, which made the deals slower, less efficient and prone to human error.

Fintech Blockchain

The platform will be connected with komgo SA, another blockchain-based platform operator that focuses on the digitization of trade and commodity market.

Komgo SA was launched in September of this year.

Komgo and VAKT have many common shareholders, such as ABN AMRO, Societe Generale, ING, Shell, Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria. Also, Komgo, whose platform is expected to go live this year, is backed by BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole Group, Macquarie, MUFG Bank, Natixis, Rabobank, and SGS.

Eren Zekioglu, head of Gunvor’s Operations and IT unit, commented:

“VAKT is the logistical arm…Once a deal is executed through our book of records, it gets pushed through VAKT. The next leg is the financing and the link-up with komgo gives access to several banks.”

Andrew Smith, executive vice president of Trading & Supply at one of Shell’s subsidiaries, stated:

“Digitalisation is changing how the energy value chain works. Collaboration with our peers and some of the industry’s key players is the best way to combine market expertise and achieve the scale necessary to launch a digital transaction platform that could transform the way we all do business. Ultimately the aim is improved speed and security, which benefits everyone along the supply chain from market participants to customers.”