Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has acquired 5.56% equity stake in a London-based technology startup, VAKT Holdings Limited (VHL), for $5 million (around Rs 35 crore).
Created and launched as an independent company in December 2017, VHL is backed by energy majors BP, Shell and Statoil, trading houses Gunvor, Koch Supply & Trading, and Mercuria; and banks ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale.
VHL has created a secure, real-time blockchain-based digital platform, working with global software consultancy ThoughtWorks and underpinned by JPMorgan’s Quorum private distributed ledger. The platform manages physical energy transactions from trade entry to final settlement, eliminating reconciliation and paper-based processes.
The blockchain platform essentially automates post-trade processes in the energy industry which will help oil companies do away with paper-based documentation and switch to smart contracts. This, in turn, is expected to reduce costs and lower the risk of errors and enhance the efficiency of post-trade processes. It will comprise a “secure, real-time blockchain-based platform to manage physical energy transactions.
This strategic investment by Reliance would accelerate its’s digital journey, through active participation in an emerging area for blockchain-enabled technology solutions for energy markets.
As per BSE filing, “No regulatory approvals were required for the said acquisition of shares. The investment does not fall within related party transactions and none of RIL’s promoters/promoter group /group companies have any interest in VHL.”
The blockchain platform developed by VHL was launched last month in the North Sea oil market. In 2019 VHL will look at ARA barges, waterborne markets and US crude pipelines.
VHL, which is also a member of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), had made an announcement last month that the blockchain platform would be run as a new venture by the consortium members, to be managed and operated as an independent entity.