Sell-Side Technology Awards 2020: Best Distributed-Ledger Technology Project—VAKT Global

Sell-Side Technology Awards

For many firms in the capital markets, distributed-ledger technology (DLT) is still seen as a nascent technology that has some way to go before gaining more widespread traction. Regulatory hurdles and financial constraints have delayed or stalled a number of high-profile industry projects.

It is therefore important to recognize sell-side technology vendors that are making progress with blockchain for actual use-cases. Last year, the award for the best DLT project went to Baton Systems, thanks to its innovative twin platform offerings for foreign-exchange (FX) transactions and for settling margin collateral. This year’s winner is London-based VAKT Global, which is applying the technology for very different purposes, but shares the same drive of many DLT enthusiasts of bringing greater efficiency to traditional processes. The firm offers a blockchain-based digital platform that can be used to manage physical energy transactions from trade entry to final settlement. 

Established in 2017, VAKT was launched with the backing of major commodity traders, banks and energy firms, including Shell, BP, ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale. Last year, VAKT added three new investors—Chevron, Total S.A. and Reliance Industries—which also became clients of the platform.

VAKT has been busy extending functionality and creating a network of partners. In July 2019, it announced a partnership with Amphora, a software provider for commodity trading, logistics and risk management. It also announced an agreement with essDOCS, a provider of paperless trading solutions. The memorandum of understanding focuses on the Northwest European barge markets to facilitate post-trade processes for parties involved in transactions. The combined offering allows the process to be managed digitally, not only removing the need for paper, but also providing both speed and cost benefits.

Last year, VAKT also secured a $5 million investment from Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures to help it further develop its platform and expand into new markets.

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