VAKT launches to re-imagine global commodities through use of blockchain

VAKT, an independent company focused on creating an industry-wide post-trade processing platform for commodities through blockchain, announced today its launch and strategic alliance with Deloitte and ThoughtWorks. Moving beyond the proof of concept stage, VAKT is now creating a production blockchain platform to digitise the global commodities trading industry. By managing physical energy transactions on a distributed ledger, VAKT aims to create a secure, trusted ecosystem for counterparty interaction, with anticipated gains in cybersecurity, operational efficiency and trade finance.

The platform will focus on post-trade processing to create a single source of truth for the trade lifecycle, eliminating reconciliation and paper-based processes. The first production version of this platform is currently under development and is expected to be operational by year-end. The platform will be sequentially introduced in three markets – North Sea crude oil, US crude oil pipelines and Northern Europe refined product barges with additional markets to be added in 2019.

John Jimenez from BP was appointed as VAKT’s interim CEO. In addition to Jimenez, further senior appointments to the management team include Adam Vile, Chief Technology Officer and Lyon Hardgrave, Vice President of Product and Business Development.

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Commenting on the new venture, Jimenez said “The response following our initial announcement has been overwhelming.  Distributed ledger technology affords us the opportunity to completely transform the way counterparties and other actors in the supply chain interact. However, for blockchain to succeed, a technical solution alone is not sufficient; it requires a substantial network of users.  No alternative solution combines the breadth of process coverage, market exposure and trade flow that defines VAKT, and the industry clearly recognises our unique proposition”.

Through an Open Development Challenge the team established key strategic alliances with Deloitte, to assist with ecosystem engagement and ThoughtWorks, appointed as the technology partner.

Randy Wilson, a leader of Deloitte’s Commodity Trading and Risk Management Advisory practice in London said: “It is unprecedented to be given the opportunity to work alongside a consortium of leading global companies to bring breakthrough innovation to an industry of this size and scale”.

Ruth Harrison, Managing Director UK, ThoughtWorks added: “From the outset, the VAKT idea was a powerful one. VAKT has identified a gap in the market in a sector in need of change. The ThoughtWorks team is uniquely positioned to help turn this idea into a well-rounded, digital technology business”.

VAKT was created and launched as an independent company in December 2017 through cooperation between energy market participants. Companies from energy majors BP, Equinor and Shell; independent traders Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading and Mercuria; and banks ABN Amro, ING and Société Générale each contributed capital with the purpose of developing an industry-wide solution in post-trade processing for commodities.

VAKT has established its office in Canary Wharf, London. Further information can be found at www.VAKT.com.