VAKT is a consortium of leading energy companies and banks, with the aim of transforming the global commodities trading industry. Traditionally, the post-trade process would involve both parties checking paperwork and changing records on separate, manual systems, which is time-consuming and error-prone.
Thoughtworks leveraged blockchain technology to build a digital platform, allowing all parties to manage that process in the same place for the very first time. This was an unprecedented and highly ambitious project, with each of the twelve organizations bringing their own business logic and API to factor into the platform. Thoughtworks helped VAKT design the platform’s infrastructure on AWS to support the new processes they would follow once launched.
The organizations in the consortium are: BP, Equinor, Shell, Gunvor, Koch, Mercuria, ABN Amro, ING, Société Générale, Chevron, Reliance, Total.
VAKT held an open development competition between a shortlist of 10 providers bidding to partner with VAKT on its innovative mission. Thoughtworks demonstrated its collaborative ways of working and technical excellence and was subsequently selected.
The scale at which VAKT wanted to implement blockchain technology was ground-breaking, so before starting work, the Thoughtworks team carried out a thorough five-week discovery process including contextual interviews and agile techniques. The Thoughtworks team was split across the UK and India, with the UK members based in the VAKT office, working as one with the VAKT team, with total transparency. As the project ramped up rapidly, so did the Thoughtworks team, growing from 15 to 70 members in only six weeks.
With the first line of code only written in May this year, we would not have been able to deliver to such an aggressive timescale without Thoughtworks. They helped us to deliver this project on time and under budget.
This was an unprecedented and highly ambitious project led by a group of nine companies, each with their own business logic and API to factor into the platform. Thoughtworks helped VAKT to design the infrastructure to support the new processes they would need to follow once the platform was live. The team also carried out user research to inform the look and feel of the innovative platform.
The team employed parallel working to carry out multiple tests and iterations at the same time, employing agile methodology and working in unison to solve challenges rapidly and ultimately meet VAKT’s requirements and deadline.
What made this project all the more groundbreaking was its development as a decentralized application (dApp), which is run across a P2P network of machines rather than from a single point of control. Shared responsibility and ownership for all of VAKT’s participants was integral to the success of this approach.
In November, the platform was launched in the North Sea crude oil market, providing traders with a secure, single source of truth that will revolutionize the way they do business. VAKT plans to make its platform available in more markets throughout 2019 and beyond.
To learn more about their journey in creating a blockchain platform, read this whitepaper co-written by VAKT and Thoughtworks.
To be great, a trading company needs two things: good technology and speed. By radically streamlining post-trade processes, VAKT offers both. This is a big step for the physical energy trading markets and I see VAKT becoming the industry-standard.