Indian Trade Finance Startup Raises $3.7M in Token Sale Led by Arrington XRP

Container ship outside Hong Kong

Blockchain and trade finance have always seemed like natural partners, and a company based in India is taking another stab at cracking the code.

Persistence has built the back-end infrastructure for a trade finance system that will allow small and medium-sized buyers to more easily find financing for commodities purchased from sellers, traveling between the main trade hubs of Asia, places like Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai, among others.

The startup closed a $3.7 million token round led by Arrington XRP, along with Alameda Research and South Korean stablecoin company Terra, among others. The backers are purchasing the Persistence token, or XPRT, which is set to be released sometime late this year or early next year, once macroeconomic conditions appear to be stabilized, said Persistence CEO Tushar Aggarwal.

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“Commodity trading is a notoriously difficult industry to penetrate,” Aggarwal told CoinDesk in an interview, noting that other firms like Perlin and Centrifuge have already entered this space.

Persistence’s advantage, Aggarwal said, lies less in its technology than in its business-development strategy.

To build an application that would appeal to companies outside of the blockchain industry, Persistence settled on Tendermint as its base layer, after investigating both Ethereum and Waves.

“A big focus of ours is the institutional folks. On the institutional side we tried to abstract away some of the complexity,” Aggarwal said.

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The specific trade finance platform was built as a separate application atop Persistence, called Comdex. That platform was turned over to a third party that already has access to the trade finance industry. Invoices get turned into non-fungible tokens (NFTs) that can then be collateralized to back loans.

“Because it’s driven by people who already have networks, you just accelerate the process,” Aggarwal said.

Comdex’s website shows its CEO is Uday Joshi, whose LinkedIn page shows that he has an additional role at Rhodium Resources. Joshi is also depicted in Rhodium’s corporate brochure, which describes the firm as specializing in the “physical trading of commodities and trade logistics,” with access to more than $1 billion in trade financing credit lines.

Though only a testnet now, Aggarwal said that “$41 million worth of commodities have been tokenized on-chain, which also represents the transaction volume.”

Because the XPRT token is not yet live, Comdex and Persistence are simply running the technology now and keeping track of the performance of the validators on the testnet, with redundancies built in to back up the chain in case there is some kind of failing.

Once Persistence hits mainnet, its validators will be rewarded accordingly, in XPRT.

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