Case Studies

Marco Polo Network Partners with Kong to Bolster Its Trade Finance Platform

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Develop Faster

Accelerated development of key features by 75%, reducing project completion time from four weeks to one week

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Deployed 20% faster across all integration patterns

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  1. Fast, robust and secure API platform
  2. Extensible, plugin-based architecture enables deep customization and innovation
  3. Ability to assign a single Kong deployment per Kubernetes cluster and support hundreds of independent platforms


  1. The limitations of legacy trade platforms and networks to support the rapid evolution of technology within the global trade finance community
  2. The manageability of an ever-changing network and how to handle the mix of live and trial functions on the Network
  3. Anticipated high development costs from needing to manually manage the workload of a Network looking to scale into the hundreds of thousands of independent nodes

The New Standard in Trade Finance

Founded in 2017, Marco Polo Network has quickly become one of the largest distributed trade and supply chain finance networks in the world. Built on a next-generation blockchain platform, Marco Polo Network is helping to deliver privacy and security at scale while reducing operational overhead for its users. With Marco Polo Network’s all-in-one digital suite of configurable trade and working capital solutions, customers are provided with the solutions and guidance to grow trading potential, build trust, and future-proof their business for years to come.

Assembling the Building Blocks of a Global Network

To extend its trading platform accessibility into new markets, Marco Polo required a network workload that could scale into the hundreds of thousands of independent nodes, with each node capable of handling millions of transactions in an automated fashion. To address this technological imperative, Craig Ferguson, Chief Architect at Marco Polo Network, and the engineering team of globally distributed engineers set out to transition the company’s architecture into an API-first model.

Looking ahead, the Marco Polo Network team determined that adding an API gateway to its infrastructure stack would be a critical move to allow the company to optimize for development velocity while simplifying its operations. “Without an API gateway in place, our business would have seen a rise in development costs as a direct result of the complexity that our team would have had to take on ourselves,” Craig recounted.

Following its 2019 evaluation of third-party service connectivity providers, Craig and his team handpicked Kong’s API gateway to become a fundamental building block of Marco Polo Network’s global platform.

“Kong particularly stood out because of its low management overhead and its ability to scale costs effectively, along with its comprehensive security and the ability to support modern tech – including service mesh – with high throughput.”

Develop and Deploy Anywhere

The Marco Polo Network has predominantly been a hosted network running on Microsoft Azure Cloud. However, with Kong’s service connectivity platform being both cloud and identity provider (IdP) agnostic, Marco Polo Network’s customers can now develop and deploy their services across any environment of choice. This architectural freedom has played a key role in allowing the Marco Polo Network team to insulate its platform against future shifts in the technology market while also supporting a wide variety of customer-dictated IdPs and helping customers to leverage the trade finance platform to its fullest extent moving forward.

“Kong has enabled us to abstract our platform from several integration patterns which were required to address specific customer needs,” said Craig. “This ability to separate our core product for customer-specific patterns has allowed us to integrate faster and deploy quicker, resulting in 20% reduction in deployment time across all of our integration patterns. We can also now support 100% of our customers with this solution, which, was not possible before implementing Kong.”

Dynamic Development With Kong for Kubernetes

Marco Polo Network is using Kubernetes heavily at the infrastructure layer to ensure operational consistency and service scalability. With the option to have a single Kong deployment per Kubernetes cluster that supports hundreds of independent platforms, the Marco Polo Network has been able to significantly simplify its Kubernetes deployment patterns and the overall manageability of each cluster while recapturing development time and resources.

“On the network side, integration projects that initially required four weeks to complete can now be done in one week, and projects that used to take five days are now being moved to what is effectively an automated process. Kong has dramatically shortened the development time of our integrated solutions,” shared Shane O’Flynn, Chief Engineering Officer.

The Proof Is in the Plug-Ins

Kong’s plug-in architecture has allowed Marco Polo Network to present customers with a set of dynamic and controllable network capabilities from both the perspective of the UI and the API. The extensibility of these plug-ins has played a crucial role in helping the Marco Polo Network team support numerous customer security and authentication requirements. This also helps to ensure that value is being delivered to the customer on-demand and without reliance on third-party timelines such as vendor release cycles.

“With Kong, we can integrate with several back-end systems in a way that is so much easier than any of the other alternatives we tried. Kong has allowed us to accelerate our product development cycle, and is now a key part of our growing stack of third-party software that we are using to future-proof the Marco Polo Network,” said Shane O’Flynn, Chief Engineering Officer

“As an off-the-shelf, state-of-the-art API gateway, Kong is great to work with as both a vendor and partner.”

– Craig Ferguson, Chief Architect, Marco Polo Network

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