Barclays has headed a $5.5 million investment into a blockchain-based invoice matching service for businesses. The bank, which has already experimented with using blockchain technology to streamline real estate sales, has joined forces with BOLD Capital Partners and other smaller investors to plough money into Crowdz, a Silicon Valley-based outfit that offers businesses the chance to settle invoices privately instead of having to wait up to 120 days for payment. The move from Barclays comes only ten weeks after HSBC announced that its Voltron invoice settlement platform had been rolled out to several Korean banks.
Is Metainvoicing the Future?
Crowdz’s blockchain-based Invoice Exchange features a built-in business-to-business (B2B) payment gateway. It allows companies of all sizes to automatically digitize invoices, accelerate the cash-conversion cycle, speed up invoice-payment collections, and automatically associate orders, invoices, and payments. This ensures a more efficient settlement purpose, in a transformative invoicing process that Crowdz calls “metavoicing.”
The Invoice Exchange’s proprietary auction platform also allows companies to submit their invoices for bank or investor financing without the need to file additional paperwork, with the ability to raise funds from dozens of funders at the lowest possible rates.
Disrupting a $9 Trillion Market
Crowdz is aiming to disrupt a decades, and perhaps even centuries, old system of invoice and payment, which traditionally involves just the two parties and the terms they draw up together. The current process can mean payments arriving months after the work has been carried out. Known as “receivables”, the market is currently worth in the region of $9 trillion, and Crowdz is confident that they can leverage blockchain technology to massively speed up the process, with payments sourced from platform users faster and at less cost than current alternatives.
Another example of this is Populous, an invoice matching platform that launched in May 2018, that allows token holders to pay invoices with tokens and receive them back in return. Other blockchain-based solutions in this area include PayPie and The Hive Project, showing that there is already competition in the space for Crowdz to navigate, and Barclays is clearly confident that they can achieve it.