A world first for blockchain

In August 2018 the World Bank and CommBank successfully launched bond-i (blockchain operated new debt instrument). It's the world's first bond to be created, allocated, transferred and managed through its life cycle using blockchain technology. 

To find out more about how to collaborate with CommBank for investing or issuing bonds on blockchain please contact:

  • James Wall, Executive General Manager, International
  • Rob Kenna, Executive Director, Debt Capital Markets Origination
  • Sophie Gilder, Head of Experimentation, Blockchain and Embodied AI

What is blockchain? 

The World Bank chose CommBank to work with on its first Australian dollar-denominated blockchain bond

Blockchain is the technology underlying cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. It has a broad range of applications. It creates a record of transactions with a digital audit trail that's visible to all authorised parties.

CommBank has been exploring potential applications of blockchain technology for three years. It's completed more than 20 blockchain pilots across a range of industries in collaboration with clients, fintechs, banks and government. 

The launch of bond-i formed part of World Bank’s broader strategic focus to harness the potential of disruptive technologies across all of its operations to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals.

The World Bank issues between US$50-US$60 billion annually in bonds for sustainable development as part of its mandate to reduce poverty and promote lasting development.

The bond-i platform

A more streamlined primary bond issuance

The platform utilises blockchain technology for issuance including launch, book build, allocation and the management of bond holdings throughout the bond lifecycle. It features:

  • Automated bond auction, bookbuild and allocation
  • Electronic bid capture
  • Real time updates and enhanced visibility according to participant’s permissions
  • Auditable and immutable transaction record for probity and operational risk management
  • Permissioned network of authorised participants

Sophie Gilder, Head of Experimentation, Blockchain and Embodied AI, Innovation Labs, Commonwealth Bank

James Wall, Executive General Manager, International, Institutional Banking and Markets,  Commonwealth Bank

Paul Snaith, Manager/Head of Operations Capital Markets, Banking and Payments, Treasury Operations at The World Bank

Fiona Trigona, Head of Funding and Balance Sheet at the NSW Treasury Corporation

Blockchain can improve the bond issuing process

The creation of the world's first blockchain bond demonstrated that blockchain can bring a number of potential benefits: 

Automation – Smart contracts to apply rules then automate and streamline processes

Efficiency – Reduced administrative overhead and management/storage of paper due to electronic  reconciliation

Transparency – Improved price transparency and real time visibility on activity for investors and issuers

Security – Replicated and synchronised full data set to provide protection from cyber threats

Risk mitigation – Greater operational risk control and visibility

Productivity – Reduction in low-value operations activity 


Things you should know

As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs, you should, before acting on this information, consider its appropriateness to your circumstances. Any opinions, views of contributors, conclusions or recommendations are reasonably held or made, based on the information available of compilation, but no representation or warranty, either expressed or implied, is made or provided as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of any statement made in this information. 

This is not an offer for sale of bonds or any other financial instrument and is not financial advice or Investment Research. Any offering of the Notes will take place solely on the basis of the relevant offering documentation including, but not limited to, the prospectus, term sheet and/or final terms, as applicable, prepared by the World Bank or on behalf of the World Bank. Any decision to invest in the Notes should be taken on the basis of the relevant offering documentation in which the risks, expenses and conditions regarding the Notes are described. Sale of the Notes might be subject to restrictions under the laws of New South Wales. The Notes may not be offered or sold except in compliance with all applicable laws and may not be eligible for sale in certain jurisdictions or to certain persons