Mining firm Vale completes first iron ore sale via blockchain

The Brazilian company said this was an important milestone towards sales digitization.

Brazilian mining giant Vale has completed its first sale of iron ore using blockchain technology.

The transaction with Nanjing Iron & Steel involved a cargo of 176,000 tons of material from Teluk Rubiah Maritime Terminal, in Malaysia, to China.

End-to-end security and transparency were ensured in the transaction, with real-time visibility of the documentation to all stakeholders, Vale said. The company added that using blockchain technology to execute the trade "drastically reduced" the number of emails and paperwork exchanged among the parties and delivered an enhanced user experience.

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According to the company, the letter of credit - a financial instrument utilized to finance the purchase of goods - for the transaction was issued through blockchain platform Contour, whilst shipping documents and the electronic bill of landing were handled via essDOCS' CargoDocs solution, with all stages of the transaction consolidated in Contour.

"[The sale using blockchain]is an important milestone towards the digitalization of the sales and trade process, bringing innovation to the traditional paper-intensive trade transactions and offering a better service to the clients as well as predictability in the steel value chain", the Brazilian company said in a statement.

Elsewhere in real estate, the first-ever transaction entirely carried out via blockchain technology was completed in Brazil. Local construction giant Cyrela and startup Growth Tech carried out the sale last July under the project Notary Ledgers, which enables users to request and track notary services in a digital environment.

The service, underpinned by IBM Blockchain technology, enabled the reduction of timescales involved in the property sale process, which usually takes about a month, down to 20 minutes.