Getting out of the box

Photo by Jan Tinneberg on Unsplash

The Standardised Trust community was created in 2017 to address the Trade Finance interoperability challenge.  The founders were a few Nordic large corporation representatives collected by SEB Finland. After writing the community White Paper, wherein the Trade Finance semantic model idea was presented and reasoned, the team started practical work on a purely voluntary and non-budget basis.

The core team was expanded by Nordic, European and some global resources (banks, corporations, vendors and other interested persons) with related expertise, all with the same concern: how can we practically implement the digitalisation of global trade and financing.  The invitation-based LinkedIn group was created, as well as the home page and the working document area at OneDrive.  Later, when the semantic modelling work expanded from an Excel workbook model to JSON schemas, a community GitHub area was also created.

The key idea on the work was to start with the ISO 20022 year 2013 base standard model for the bank guarantees and stand-by letters of credit.  So, it was originally a clear route selection from the old Swift MT7xx message model to more structured data sets and descriptions of the data element use.  Soon the community noticed that there was a need to go even further in the data element structuring, and the model was expanded to also use established and related evolving standardisation, for example ICC DSI (International Chamber of Commerce Digital Standards Initiative) and DCSA (Digital Container Shipping Association). 

It has been a long journey (all the meeting memos from year 2018) by the Standardised Trust community to come this far.  Finally the publication of the documentation will be available for public review. We have listed below all the means to participate into this review:

Now our aim is to get as much as possible input, insights, ideas and overall contributions from all of you after browsing and reading these published documents.  Some of you may even get inspired to participate in the model definition and become a member of our community’s active member group.  All comments, requests and change ideas can be sent via email to and with cc to

The community is now addressing the original aim to have openly available documentation, development resources and access to common standards being the main mitigation against the risk of digital trade and trade finance islands.  Within those islands, by platform or signed system rulebooks, the members may already run digital trade finance transactions using uniform rules and digital trade transaction guidelines.  The problem will still be there if a digital island non-member would like to be part of the transaction processing and the common rulebook will not apply anymore.  How can we ensure the ability to interoperate and share data in a standard structured format to act digitally and do that in a secure manner? 

Good developments are ongoing in the legal framework of trade with the help of UNCITRAL’s MLETR (Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records) making finally the trade and its financing digital even on a legal framework basis.  Yet this will take time, and meanwhile we will need communities such as Standardised Trust and collaboration by the various stakeholder groups in order to create common and understandable language for trade finance.  That is exactly the work in progress by the Standardised Trust working group.  Building up boats and vessels to travel easily with data cargo from one digital island to another and use the ocean as a common data transfer mechanism and a pool of freely available common development resources.  In the community, all the bills of lading are made of pure and semantically understandable information.  Freely available for others travelling between the islands over the oceans of the digital world.  Join us and let us enjoy your contribution, which will now also be publicly available for anyone needing the vehicle to use trade finance instrument data in an interoperable way.

On behalf of the Standardised Trust community

Harri Rantanen Business Developer at Corporate Banking, SEB