The Practice of Digital Trading

TradeCloud aims to bring the commodities industry into the digital world, leveraging technology to improve the trading experience and make it more accessible.

Singapore-based company TradeCloud is a communications platform designed specifically for the physical commodities industry. By its own account, it provides a secure and compliant environment, open to all market participants. Furthermore, the firm supports its members to find the commodities they need at competitive prices. “It also provides a network of post-trade services such as logistics, finance, and documents, all connected on the TradeCloud Commodities Web, centered around blockchain technology.”

According to the company’s information, the platform – online since October 2017 – has more than 500 member companies in about 60 countries. It currently serves mainly the metals industry and plans to expand into other sectors.

Simon Collins, Chief Executive Officer, TradeCloud (Photo: TradeCloud)

Simon Collins, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of TradeCloud, explains the practice of digital trading about physical commodities.

Mr Collins, which are the differences between TradeCloud and other digital marketplaces?
TradeCloud is a peer-to-peer platform. Unlike Exchanges, it is a Network of like-minded people and resources that deal in physical commodities. Consider it as an AirBnB or Amazon of the physical commodities business where people can connect, communicate, and collaborate easily and securely! With TradeCloud, you can interact with both internal and external stakeholders in the trade-cycle with full visibility for the whole team, wherever they are. It also ties communications directly to contracts, eliminating the need for manual filing of emails, chats, and documents. It is a one-stop-shop for your scrap trading requirements.

How does the trade process work?
The process itself is simple and neat! You could perform price discovery on our platform by sending a proposal (buy or sell) in a one-to-one, one-to-many or one-to-all format, for which you shall receive prompt and structured feedback. Our platform helps you generate fully automated contracts, which then get stored with your back-office for reviews and connecting with service providers, like trucking or shipping companies. You can chat with the right parties and share details securely using e-documents features. The summary of your trades will always be visible on the customizable dashboards for your reference and your team. The system is robust, transparent and secure, where you can grant access to multiple stakeholders as per your unique requirements. The data is securely stored on the Microsoft Azure Cloud and recorded via R3 Corda Blockchain – making it easy to trace and impossible to tamper or lose (unlike physical documents!).

Which technical requirements are necessary for companies that intend to use TradeCloud for partaking in digital trading?
None, our platform is software and device-independent. Meaning our customers are not required to install any software on their laptops. You could use it on any smart device like desktop, laptop, mobile (via iOS and Android apps) and be notified on-the-go. Furthermore, we provide training sessions and complete after-sales support to all our clients.

For which industries do you currently trade raw materials on TradeCloud? Are recycled materials also included?
We are focused on the Metals and Energy sector. That includes both Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Recycled Products. You will find all ISRI specifications, and we can even add new specifications should a customer require them.

What are your aims for the future?
We aim to be a multicommodity platform. Currently, we are looking into Plastics Recycling, Agricultural Products and Precious Metals. Furthermore, we want our customers to demand commodities of their choice, which we can include, making it an on-demand platform. We have a flexible infrastructure that makes this all possible.

Is it possible to use the platform to pay for goods or to finance trade – even on an international level?
With our connected services partners (such as Contour), our clients can connect with financiers that enable payments both domestically and internationally with complete security and transparency. Connected services such as trade finance, inspection companies and tracking are a big part of our 2021 development.


About Simon Collins:

  • CEO & Co-Founder of TradeCloud, Director of EdgePetrol, and an investor in several technology-based start-ups.
  • Simon was formerly head of Metals & Minerals trading for Trafigura, as well as being a member of Trafigura’s management board.
  • Simon has over 30 years’ experience in the commodities trading business complimented with broad product and regional experience.
  • Connect with Simon on LinkedIn


Is TradeCloud a secure communication platform? Do you guarantee that you can protect the identity of the trading partners?
At TradeCloud, we are committed to keeping all information private and secure. Trust is a vital ingredient to our success. TradeCloud uses Microsoft Azure Cloud to store all data; security is built into the platform from the ground up. Azure Cloud is ISO Certified and has a 24/7 cybersecurity team proactively scanning for potential breaches. We use world-class, high-end encryption for all data in transit. We continue to monitor the latest available technology to keep TradeCloud’s data safe.

How can TradeCloud (together with its partners) significantly reduce the risk of fraud in the commodities industry?
Over the past few years, the metal industry has been the victim of headline-hitting frauds. Such crimes have partly come about due to the industry’s continued reliance on paper documents – Contracts, Bills of Lading, Certificates of Origin, Warehouse Receipts, Insurance certificates, Letters of Indemnity – to name the most common.

At TradeCloud, our goal was to build a communications platform specifically designed for the commodities industry. That meant that data security was our top priority. Traditional communication channels – such as emails, 3rd-party chats or calls – are often the weakest link in the IT chain. For example, the problem with email is that once it leaves your IT environment, it can be easily hacked. Plus, with all of us receiving so many emails every day, it can be easy to miss something malicious. Email has been the root cause of many of the recent frauds and losses in the commodities industry.

TradeCloud comes as a secure channel to connect, communicate and collaborate with all parties. On the platform, all trade-related information is readily available and secured. The key to keeping communications private is to keep them within a secure environment. The TradeCloud environment is a closed system, making it far less susceptible to attack.

Additionally, our connected services partners provide their array of services to serve the unique needs of our clients. With Roambee, you get on-demand shipment tracking and monitoring solution. With Contour, you can streamline the administration process and create digital Letters of Credit. With Bolero, you get Electronic Bills of Lading to transfer goods control easily and efficiently. To sum it up, we, with our partners, are solving grass-roots issues for our clients in their day-to-day business.

How will digital commodity trading evolve in the future?
In my opinion, it will move with continuously evolving technologies. With more and more companies adopting Blockchain and Cloud computing technologies, the TradeCloud Commodities Web is growing stronger. We have more partners lining up with their unique array of connected services to provide with the ever-growing needs of our clients. The digitization of the commodity trading industry is a journey, which we are all in together. If you want to have a competitive edge, you need to be at the forefront of technological change.

Mr Collins, thank you very much for the interview!

(Published in GLOBAL RECYCLING Magazine 1/2021, Page 8, Graphic: TradeCloud)