IBM acquires 7% of the shares of the Blockchain network of commercial finance We.Trade

IBM acquires 7% of the shares of the Blockchain network of commercial finance We.Trade - IBM wetradeIBM has become a shareholder of, the commercial finance platform jointly held by 12 European banks, signaling further consolidation in the corporate blockchain space.

Ciaran McGowan, CEO of, said: "We now have a very solid partnership with IBM for global scalability and are working closely on Asia, Africa and Latin America."

IBM also takes 7% of the network's intellectual property has the distinction of being the first corporate blockchain consortium to become active in early 2018. The platform was formed by a group of banks to help European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) gain better access. to commercial finance.

IBM was the technology partner of the project from the beginning. However,'s plan was always to focus on its internal technology and to rely less on IBM, as McGowan said at the Sibos event last October in London.

"It's just about getting the balance right," McGowan said last week about IBM's new role as a platform co-owner and sole technology provider. The move also raises the issue of intellectual property (IP), something that has caused IBM problems with blockchain consortia in the past.

Part of the success of depends on the fact that no single entity has ever had more say than another. The previous CEO of the platform, Roberto Mancone, indicated a "clear distinction" between the IBM IP, which creates the components used to build the platform and the IP of the platform itself.

These lines seem to be blurred now. In addition to owning the Hyperledger-based IBM Blockchain platform on which is built, IBM would have 7% of the platform's IP, McGowan confirmed. A concession sponsored by (and IBM) implies a new multi-cloud approach so that customers can use Microsoft Azure or AWS instead of having to use IBM Cloud. is expected to open to Asian banks

IBM joins the 12 equity banks of CaixaBank, Deutsche Bank, Erste Group, HSBC, KBC, Nordea, Rabobank, Santander, Société Générale, UBS and UniCredit. McGowan said some European banks are "taking time to observe the corporate blockchain, particularly in the crowded commercial financial space.

"I think, given that there are a number of players in space, and a number of banks on those platforms, European banks have been a little behind and perhaps they are afraid to join a platform in case an other face better ".

However, McGowan said that plans to interact with Hong Kong's TradeConnect, a blockchain-based commercial finance platform made up of 12 Asian banks.

A round of investments slated for September will see the platform close to some insurance companies and other banks, he added. An anonymous source close to the corporate blockchain space said that we can expect IBM to start bringing together its large blockchain services such as TradeLens and Food Trust in an attempt to obtain a critical mass of the network.