International Payments, Trade Finance & Blockchain : A qualitative study about the impact of blockchain implementation
Sammanfattning: The digitalization of our world is happening at a rapid pace. In the last few years there has been an avalanche of new technologies that could benefit businesses, such as; artificial intelligence, internet of things and blockchain. To explain blockchain in short one can say that it is a ledger that cannot be changed and the information that is stored on the ledger will be there forever, with the information being stored in a decentralized manner and everyone with the right permissions get access to the same data at the same time. The information networks that build our society today are largely central, big institutions keep information stored centrally in massive data centers. On the contrary, blockchain enables distribution of the information to a myriad of smaller data storages, providing security of the data in the decentralization. Blockchain and its implementation in trade finance and international payments is something that is explored in this thesis, as well as the barriers that impede a large-scale implementation of blockchain in the financial sector in Sweden. Every year trade finance accounts for approximately 17 trillion USD worldwide, this is a process that is still paper intense and slow. The use case for blockchain has been realized within this sector as there are operating trade finance platforms based on blockchain or distributed ledger technology, but how does blockchain really improve this sector? During this degree project this has been one of the questions asked and the answer is clear, blockchain will bring efficiency and transparency to trade finance. International payments is also an area that has been researched during this project as it is right now a costly and slow process, the use case for blockchain or distributed ledger technology has been realized in this sector as well, but the implementation seems to be further away. The main reasons why international payments are seen as a use case for blockchain is the same as the aforementioned - efficiency and transparency. Sweden has yet to see a large-scale implementation of blockchain, some of the barriers found are the challenges of collaboration and agreeing on governance, as well as doubts about the technology from the broad mass as it has yet to be proven efficient and reliable in a large-scale, long term setting. Additionally there are already functioning payment infrastructure in use in Sweden and the cost of implementing blockchain is thus far outweighing the benefits for implementing it.
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