The World Bank and Australia's largest bank, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, have issued a public bond exclusively through the blockchain. The $100 million AUD ($73.16 million USD) deal is made up of two-year bonds. It expected to settle by August 28, 2018 and yield a 2.25 percent return.
The prototype bond, dubbed "Bond-i" (Blockchain Operated New Debt Instrument) is seen by participants as a milestone and a step forward toward automation of bond sales.
It is part of a broader strategic focus of the World Bank to “harness the potential of disruptive technologies for development.” Launched in June of 2017, its Blockchain Innovation Lab studies the impact of blockchain and other disruptive technologies on such sectors as land administration, supply-chain management, health, education, cross-border payments and carbon-market trading.
The American fund Northern Trust, three Australian state governments, local pension fund First State Super and CBA were the investors in the deal, which the World Bank sees as a part of its strategic focus to harness "disruptive technologies for development."
Speaking with Bitcoin Magazine, Arturs Ivanovs, founder of FIC Network — a platform for issuing and trading bonds on the blockchain — said that the launch of the world’s first global bond is a great "validation of blockchain technology's usefulness" for financial transactions.
"The World Bank is one of the largest bond issuers in the world, and it is great that it recognizes the cost savings, transparency, increased access to capital around the world and other benefits that are related to usage of blockchain technology in the bond market," he remarked.
The World Bank often uses its bonds, which are known for their high level of creditworthiness, to develop new bond markets and pioneer new means for trading the securities.
It issues between $50 billion and $60 billion a year in bonds to back economic progress in developing countries.
Australia is seen as a pilot market for testing new developments due to its well-developed financial infrastructure and the popularity of the Australian dollar with the international community.
The country has proven receptive to the integration of the blockchain technology to government services and the private sector. Last month, IBM signed a $740 million deal with the Australian government to use the blockchain to improve data security and automation across federal departments.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) also has plans to integrate the blockchain into the current system for clearing and settling equities on the exchange.