Mastercard has joined Marco Polo, a consortium working to simplify global trade with blockchain technology.
Announced Tuesday, the payments giant’s business-to-business global trade unit, Mastercard Track, will provide an access point to Marco Polo’s working capital finance platform, which operates within a $1.5 trillion market, as estimated by the World Trade Organization.
Founded by startups R3 and TradeIX, Marco Polo uses the former’s Corda blockchain platform. The network promises real-time connectivity, greater visibility for trading relationships and lower barriers to accessing capital.
Since launching in 2017, the network has attracted participation from major financial institutions such as BNP, Commerzbank and ING. It now has more than 25 members.
Mastercard Track was developed with Microsoft’s Azure cloud service and launched in 2018. The platform provides identifying, vetting and onboarding services for more than 210 million registered entities worldwide.
“The scale and reach of Mastercard will complement and enable the large number of financial service providers who have pioneered the formation of the Marco Polo network over the past couple of years,” Daniel Cotti, a managing director at TradeIX, said in a press release.
Still in a pilot phase, Marco Polo has been slowly releasing trade transaction services. In August, a third party to a trade triggered a real-time payment to a supplier as the goods left for their destination.
Italian stamp showing Marco Polo’s return from China, image via Shutterstock