A shipment of 3,000 tonnes of wheat from Russia to Turkey was recently fully paid for with Bitcoin. With this delivery, the Prime Shipping Foundation has tested how to use Blockchain in international trade. Finally.
Once through the Black Sea, from Russian Rostov-on-Don to Turkish Samsun, went the first Bitcoin paid delivery of a freighter. How much bitcoin was paid for the 3,000 tons of wheat is not known. “We’re trying to build a cross-border payment system that is simpler and faster than what’s available today,” said Ivan Vikoulov of the Prime Shipping Foundation to Bloomberg.
Of course, bitcoin payments are likely to be faster and cheaper than the usual methods with middlemen. If the two parties to the trade also use multisig transactions, they can also save the usual trustees. What is still a bit puzzling is how both the sender and the receiver made the necessary liquidity. For both in Turkey and in Russia Bitcoin exchanges are rare and the trade takes place mostly in a gray area.
An important role in the settlement of the payment has played the Prime Shipping Foundation. This company is a partnership of Quorum Capital Ltd. and Interchart LLC. Like Quorum, the Prime Shipping Foundation is registered in Gibraltar. In international trade, it often seems that companies are based in places like Gibraltar. Vikoulov sees this as an opportunity: “Most of the tonnages shipped around the world are registered offshore. The flexibility in these jurisdictions forms a good basis for developing a simpler payment system and possibly overriding classic banking, “Bitcoin.com quotes the CEO.
But the plans of the Prime Shipping Foundation go even further. According to a press release released yesterday, the company “works on the mechanics of a product that allows immediate processing of payments and the switch from Fiat to cryptocurrencies and back without any significant additional costs.” So the Foundatoin is trying to position itself as a middleman who will pay technically handled and for both sender and receiver the associated currency exchange takes over. A BitPay for international trade, so to speak.
The goal is to free the international freight industry from the dollar that still dominates it, including the big banks, middlemen, and money traders who have become irreplaceable in dollar dominance. Just as the gold standard unleashed a wave of globalization in the late nineteenth century, a new Bitcoin standard could spur another globalization push on the global economy. The Prime Shipping Foundation is now trying to develop a “complex ecosystem that allows transactions to be made rapidly and almost casually between the major Fiat currencies and the major crypto currencies.”
The company wants to make money in the same way as everyone else: through a token. “The PRIME token lies at the heart of the ecosystem,” according to the press release. The ICO is planned for the middle of the year. What exactly the PRIME token can do, the press release does not reveal. It promises, however, that “subscribers to the freight market, such as the owners of ships, charterers, freight operators, brokers, agents and fuel suppliers through the Prime Ecosystem, can increase the efficiency of their operations while cutting operating costs.”
Currently, Prime is still working with financial institutions to bridge the gap between fiat and cryptocurrencies. In order to serve as a “handler” to the crypto assets in the future, the Prime Shipping Foundation has applied for a banking license in Gibraltar.
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