Monday’s Global Trade Review reported that a “blockchain platform called “Marco Polo” had been used by German banks Commerzbank and LBBW to do two test open account trades and financing transactions. The key seems to be recording information in a standardised way so that an algorithm can then use it to complete the records for an open account trade transaction and its related financing, and in that sense this is a great leap forward that international trade took in the 1970s with the combined transport document, and so plus ca change, but this time in electronic form, processing the order and delivery details, and then post-delivery payment by the buyer’s bank, with a single input of the data and no paper. Whether this is blockchain as commonly (mis)understood, or merely blockchain in name only, this is just the kind of rather boring development in standardisation which sounds like it is going to be a significant success. Standardisation of information is the key, just as it is with the ISDA project (see FM Update August 2017/2), and the Marco Polo banks are leading a project to create open trade and technology standards, called the Universal Trade Network with this in mind. Marco Polo is backed by 17 member banks including Alfa Bank, Anglo-Gulf Trade Bank, Bangkok Bank, BNP Paribas, Commerzbank, Danske Bank, DNB, ING, LBBW, Natixis, NatWest, OP Financial Group, SMBC and Standard Chartered.