Emirates NBD, in partnership with DP World Trade Finance, Enigio, and iBind, has successfully conducted the first-ever Proof of Concept (PoC) on Digitally Native Trade documents with the application of Trusted Digital Identity. This PoC, achieved through collaboration with Enigio and iBind, marks an advancement in utilising technology to improve global trade and financial services.

The team’s joint efforts in the PoC addressed fundamental issues affecting the adoption of digitally native trade documents by recreating the physical flow of transactional documents used in international trade in a digital format. Three key attributes were identified as crucial for facilitating a digitally native document through an existing trade channel:

  1. Proof of uniqueness/genuineness
  2. Establishment of ownership and authority
  3. Transferability to a new owner

The growing adoption of UNCITRAL’s Model Law for Electronic Transferable Records (MLETR) – a technology-neutral open framework that promotes the use of electronic transferable documents – has aided in creating uniquely identifiable and transferable digital trade documents. 

However, the life cycle of any trade transaction involving digitally native trade documents requires the establishment of the ownership of the document (identity and authority) at different stages, hence the creation of ‘Trusted Digital Identities’.

Corporate entities involved in the trade, such as issuers, transferrers, or transferees of an e-Bill of Lading, should be verifiable through a trusted source of identity management. While several frameworks for identity management exist today, like Legal Entity Identifier (LEI), they are not widely accepted. 

This is primarily because such frameworks serve varied purposes and are not specifically designed for a digitally native ecosystem for trade documents. Thus, there is a need to implement a digital identity management framework that is easy to adopt, interoperable, and channel agnostic.

The PoC marks a crucial moment in the evolution of digital trade finance as it not only validates digital trade documents like an e-Bill of Lading but also verifies and establishes the authority of the corporate entities involved in the end-to-end trade transaction. 

The solution creates Digital IDs (DID) that act as a public key that can be linked with any digitally native document. Additionally, the bank plays a critical role in verifying the DID of their existing relationships, alleviating the need for other transacting parties to conduct their own KYC or due diligence.

Key accomplishments of the PoC include:

  • Digitally Native Trade Documents: Successful demonstration of the creation, transmission, and authentication of digitally native trade documents, significantly streamlining trade processes and reducing reliance on traditional paper documentation.
  • Trusted Digital Identities: Through the collaborative efforts of Enigio, iBind, Emirates NBD, and DP World Trade Finance, a robust system for trusted digital identities has been created and implemented, ensuring the security and authenticity of entities involved in trade transactions.
  • Interoperability and Integration: The PoC showcases seamless integration into existing trade workflows, emphasising interoperability with various systems and applications.
  • Enhanced Security Measures: The implementation of trusted digital identities contributes to enhanced security measures, reducing the risk of fraud and unauthorised access in the digital trade environment.

Vishnu Purohit, Group Head of Trade Product Management, Emirates NBD, said, “We are thrilled with the success of our PoC for Trusted Digital Identities. This innovative solution has demonstrated its potential to revolutionise digital trade, offering enhanced security, efficiency and trust. It is a pivotal step towards a more seamless and secure trade ecosystem, and we are excited about the possibilities it holds for the future of international trade.

Our joint efforts have not only validated the feasibility of this concept but has also paved the way for future collaborations in revolutionising the landscape of digital trade finance. This successful Proof of Concept underscores our commitment in creating a seamless digital future for global trade.”

Aneel Sabir, Director – Middle East, Enigio, said, “This PoC proves how banks, corporates and technology firms can work together to demonstrate innovative thinking to drive speedy and tangible outcomes for all involved. To use trusted data already held by a bank for the benefit of all transacting parties, provides the ability for all parties to validate the data instantly, securely and without the need of a platform. 

This is a true example of collaboration between Emirates NBD, DP World Trade Finance, Enigio and iBIND of exploring and executing digital efficiencies in trade finance transactions.”

Sinan Ozcan, Senior Executive Officer and member of the Board, DP World Trade Finance, said, “This innovative PoC is streamlining financial processes and making it easier to deliver trade finance to the organisations that need it most. Our work with these talented partners matches with our aim of addressing the trade finance gap. By collaborating with partners across the industry, we are bringing trade finance into the modern era and transforming the lending process.” 

Sanat Bhat and Santu Maity, Co-Founders of iBind Systems, said, “The PoC demonstrates how the Trade gap can be reduced by redefining the cumbersome and opaque processes to traceable and verifiable journeys. The PoC uses iBind’s digital infrastructure for trusted digital identities with digital native Trade documents. The partnership is a strong reference of collaboration between a leading bank, Industry leaders and technology partners – Enigio to enhance the trust and security in the trade while removing the delays and cost inefficiencies.”