The World Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) have launched the world’s first bond created and managed using blockchain technology.
Announcing the initiative early this month, the World Bank appointed CBA to lead the fund’s development on August 15, dubbing the prototype deal bond-i, standing for Blockchain Operated New Debt Instrument (and a pun on Sydney’s famous beach).
Since then, the bond has outstripped initial estimates to raise $80.48m (£62m) for the World Bank. CBA’s executive general manager said that since being announced interest in the project had been “overwhelming”.
Northern Trust, three Australian state governments, pension fund First State Super and CBA, were the investors of the deal, which is a test of how the technology could potentially improve legacy bond sales practices with faster and cheaper automation.
“I am delighted that this pioneer bond transaction using the distributed ledger technology, bond-i, was extremely well received by investors,” said World Bank Treasurer, Arunma Oteh.
“We are particularly impressed with the breadth of interest from official institutions… these high-quality investors understood the value of leveraging technology for innovation in capital markets.”
The World Bank issues between US $50-60bn (£39-47bn) annually in bonds for sustainable development projects across the globe. In an earlier statement, it commented that emerging technologies offer “transformative, yet prudent possibilities” to innovate on its endeavours, respond to investor needs, and strengthen markets.
According to CNBC, Australia remains a popular test site for market developments because of a well-established financial infrastructure, and the familiarity of international investors with the Australian dollar, which is one of the most-traded currencies in the world.