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Blockchain Applications in Commercial Finance: Loan Syndications, Servicing, Swaps, Trade Finance and More

Recording of a 90-minute premium CLE webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Thursday, August 29, 2019

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE course will familiarize finance counsel with the technology and some of the current and potential uses of blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) in commercial finance transactions. The panel will also discuss the legal and regulatory hurdles companies may encounter in moving transactions onto a distributed ledger or blockchain.


Blockchain is a viable and expanding technology in commercial finance. A single blockchain can embody all transaction information in one digital shared document, which is updated nearly instantly and is simultaneously viewable by all members on the network. Several areas of finance are particularly well suited to benefit from DLT.

The syndicated loan market, in which financial institutions participate as arrangers, agents and lenders to corporate borrowers, is one of the most promising candidates for the use of blockchain. The secondary trading market for these loans--purchased, sold and maintained on different centralized intermediaries' books and records or registries--could be processed on a single ledger.

In trade finance, the importer, exporter, shipper, banks, etc., typically maintain their databases for documents related to a transaction (the letter of credit, bill of lading, invoices, etc.). DLT would allow for immediate settlement of each step in the trade process, reconciled, verified and accessible by all parties.

Interest rate swaps (among other financial derivatives) are primarily paper-based, and blockchain can streamline numerous settlement issues. There are also benefits for sale and financing of trade receivables and chattel paper from blockchain platforms to obtain efficiencies in settlement times, security, ownership status and other matters.

Listen as our authoritative panel discusses the architecture of DLT and how it varies from traditional transactions requiring a central intermediary. The group will also discuss the legal ramifications and security concerns presented by blockchain.



  1. Characteristics of DLT and blockchain
    1. Decentralized, peer-to-peer database
    2. No intermediary required
    3. Authenticated transactions
  2. Difference between blockchain and DLT
  3. Smart contracts and e-signatures
  4. Automated tracking and enforcement
  5. Potential applications: loan syndications, servicing, swaps, trade finance
  6. Legal risks and opportunities


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What is a distributed ledger, and how does it change documentation of transactions and information?
  • How can smart contract enforcement be embedded in a distributed ledger or blockchain?
  • What are some of the current and proposed uses for blockchain in commercial finance transactions?
  • What legal issues arise with blockchain that are not present with more traditional formats?


Cieplak, Jenny
Jenny E. Cieplak

Latham & Watkins

Ms. Cieplak practice primarily involves mergers and acquisitions, complex joint ventures, consortiums and...  |  Read More

Snyder, Steven
Steven T. Snyder

Senior Attorney
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings

Mr. Snyder is a member of Bradley’s Financial Services Litigation and Cybersecurity and Privacy teams. He...  |  Read More

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