Mercosur customs are already connected by blockchain

bConnect platform begins to be used by Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay to ensure more agility and security in the exchange of information on foreign trade

ObConnect, a blockchain network developed by Serpro for the Brazilian Internal Revenue Service, began to be used in October to connect the customs offices of Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

The platform guarantees the authenticity and security of customs data shared among Mercosur countries.

„The bConnect network begins by allowing the sharing of information from Authorized Economic Operators (AEO) and there are already plans to increase the network to meet the sharing of information from Customs Declarations. More than a product, we are implementing a concept that will allow the exchange of any information between countries in a secure and agile way, preserving the sovereignty of each country“, highlights the manager of Foreign Trade Solutions at Serpro, Paulo Ramos.

According to Bárbara Harckbart de Oliveira, of the General Coordination of Customs Administration (Coana) of the Federal Revenue, „bConnect was created to supply an international need of automated exchange of customs data of the OAS between the countries, that, before, was made, in its majority, by means of spreadsheets elaborated or extracted from the system that each country had and sent by electronic mail“.

Paulo Ramos added that companies certified as OAS are listed on the Internet, but it was necessary to have a system in which it was possible to send data from Brazilian companies and, at the same time, consult the certification of foreign companies.

„bConnect opens a new scenario for automating the sharing of customs information and will be evolved to allow the integration of Mercosur with other economic blocks regardless of the technology used by them,“ he reveals.

How bConnect works

bConnect is a tool that allows the network sharing of registration information of companies certified by the Federal Revenue Service as an Authorized Economic Operator (OAS) and that enjoy benefits such as facilitation of customs procedures, both in Brazil and abroad.

According to Fernando Lustosa, Business Solutions for Foreign Trade consultant for Serpro, the bConnect solution was developed using the Hyperledger Fabric 1.4 framework, an open source application maintained by The Linux Foundation.

„This solution, which is vendor-independent, enables the access and visibility rules of the bilateral agreements signed to be replicated in the authorized blockchain network formed by the nodes of the Mercosur countries,“ said Lustosa.

Fernando Lustosa also explains that „Hyperledger Fabric is an authorised blockchain network defined by organisations wishing to set up a consortium, i.e. they must be invited to participate in a Hyperledger blockchain, unlike open public networks such as Ethereum.

The organisations participating in the construction of the Hyperledger Fabric network are called ‚members‘, Membership Service Provider – MSP, which in the case of bConnect are the Mercosur countries“.

Because of its permission, Fabric has features with advantages over other open blockchains: data protection and consistency – it uses permissions to ensure member control and access rights; confidential transactions – visibility control of transactions by groups based on cryptographic keys (digital certificates); no cryptomaps – no need for mining or costly computing to publish transactions; programmable – logic implemented in contracts (chaincode) for business process automation.

„Each country on the network includes information relating to its OAS companies in the blockchain and this information will be immediately viewed by those countries whose Smart Contract is established. In the innovative architecture proposed by Brazil, the foreign trade systems will be connected to this network and will be sensitized with the inclusion of new blocks“, says the manager of Serpro Paulo Ramos.

International reference

The bConnect platform was presented in September to the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism, an American security programme, as an example to ensure authenticity of customs information shared between Brazil and partner countries. The presentation made by Serpro specialists marked a new moment in international data exchange, in which Brazil is a reference.