The Efma-Accenture Distribution and Marketing Innovation Awards give the industry the opportunity to evaluate and celebrate the most interesting and disruptive banking innovations. As we begin to prepare for the 2017 awards later this year, we’re looking back on the winners from last year.

As a rule, security and convenience move in opposite directions. To deter hacking, banks want their customers to use complex, frequently-changed passwords for their online accounts. Many customers disregard this advice because they don’t like the inconvenience of tracking and changing such a password.

Last year, Belgian bank KBC showed the industry that it is possible to transcend this tradeoff. KBC’s Digital Trade Chain (DTC) uses cutting-edge technology to make international trade both secure and convenient for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

DTC is built around the concept of a smart contract, which automates financial transactions when predefined conditions are met. DTC automatically tracks international trade transactions from order to payment, and uses intuitive flow-charts to display transaction status at a glance.

It balances this convenience with cutting-edge security that uses blockchain technology to guarantee that sensitive data is only seen by the parties in the trade. KBC is so confident in the security of blockchain that it automatically releases payments on transactions when pre-defined conditions are met.

With DTC, sellers can feel more confident about receiving international payments. Buyers deal with less hassle and fewer delays. KBC gets to boost customer satisfaction and efficiency—it estimates that DTC could reduce the lifecycle of an international trade within Europe to two days.

For overcoming the security-convenience tradeoff with a win-win-win solution, KBC won the 2016 Efma-Accenture D&M Award for Best New Product or Service.

Come back when I’ll go over another winner from the 2016 awards. In the meantime, learn more about last year’s winners.

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