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Blockchain and Supply Chain Finance: the salient points that emerged from the Observatories' research

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Last month, TESISQUARE took part in the final events of the two Observatories Blockchain & Distributed Ledger and Supply Chain Finance of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, of which it is a partner.

For both areas of research, which also have many points of contact, a bustling market has emerged, with a high potential and which will see a substantial development in the coming years.
Within the blockchain, however, there is no lack of resistance, especially in our country: many Italian companies still know little about these technologies and do not consider them revolutionary for the future.

The Blockchain effectively integrates well-established technological solutions for the controlled management of transactions (cryptocurrencies) in supply chains and in contracts (smart contracts) that regulate them in a safe, verifiable and permanent manner.
Internationally, the research surveyed 579 Blockchain and Distributed Ledger projects by companies from around the world in the last 3 years: 32% comes from Asia, 27% from Europe, 22% from America, the rest are multi continental. Italy ranks third in Europe after the United Kingdom and Germany.
As for the sectors, the most active companies belong to the financial sector (48%), to public administrations (10%), while 8% are logistics operators. The main processes to which these technologies are applied are payment management (24%), document management (24%) and supply chain traceability (22%).

The future scenarios appear to be very active, so much so that even at the institutional level governments are moving: at the end of 2018 the Italian MISE (Ministry of Economic Development) has appointed a group of experts charged with identifying a national strategy and in Europe the legislators are working to provide guidelines and standardization regarding the use of these technologies, with particular attention to compliance with the principles of the GDPR.

As regards the world of Supply Chain Finance, a potential market has emerged that is still very large (75%) and not completely covered by solutions; for this reason many new small initiatives are being born, mostly based on the FINTECH model, considered winning, with operators in the finance and technology sectors.
The research has highlighted how in Italy the adoption of Supply Chain Finance solutions is guided by the search for collaboration between the supply chain partners, considered a fundamental lever for the improvement of relations especially with strategic suppliers, and by new tools / technologies enablers; in Europe, on the other hand, the major driver is the strong external pressure to optimize working capital.

Electronic invoicing, Blockchain, Analytics, Big data and IoT are the technologies and / or solutions that enable future developments in the Supply Chain Finance theme.

TESISQUARE®, Groupama AM SGR and Fifty - Finance Beyond have given life in 2017 to the First Italian Supply Chain Finance Fund. The three companies have created a parallel channel with respect to the traditional banking one, going to constitute that bridge, until now non-existent, between the world of SMEs and Italian institutional investors, with the aim of facilitating businesses through an advanced digital IT platform able both to acquire documents in multichannel mode, and to integrate into the ERP of companies, with the management of the entire process of financing of commercial credits, in a transparent manner and without incurring in long authorization processes or complex procedures.

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