19 July 2019
Not more press on blockchain? Yes, I’m afraid so.
Is the hype all it is cracked up to be? Yes, I’m afraid it is.
So where can it have most impact? In almost all sectors, it is the application of the technology to a particular process that is critical.
I’m not going to explain blockchain, but I will add to the hype in demonstrating its transformative power to change the way we do things – all manner of things – and the change is happening now.
That is why there are so many bright young and not so young developers, start-ups, consultants, investors, corporates, banks, and regulators diving into a pool of Lego coded blocks, but whether they are pulled in by the hype or pushed into the pool by necessity, it is time to get changed into your swimmers.
Blockchain is like a titanium backbone that builds vertebrae upon vertebrae; allowing a body to grow and be held up straight and true, whilst providing a structure to protect those vital organs and senses.
This is not about cryptocurrencies, from whence it came, but how we manage processes (any process) both efficiently and effectively, and on a global scale.
The most obvious use is in supply chain and, combined with other technology, it is incredibly powerful. This is especially the case where goods are being transported from one jurisdiction to another with all the complexity that this brings.
Blockchain’s ‘transformational power’ is that it can manage this complexity, by providing traceability and by reducing paperwork and errors, but the key ingredient is the management of risk through transparency.
If you are a business that relies on a supply chain, whether just-in-time, highly perishable goods or require provenance, then there are clear advantages of being able to monitor and track goods from origin to final destination.
If you combine blockchain with other technologies, then this amplifies the capability. Whether you are a supplier, logistics and freight business, regulator, insurer, legal and financial service provider, or a government body, blockchain can give you the ability to manage risk more effectively making the whole process more cost-effective and efficient.
Blockchain is a technology that is verifiable, permanently traceable, uncensored, offers data transparency in real-time, and can transfer direct economic value between parties. What is there not to like? The benefits are clear.
One of the best examples of its use in the supply chain is TradeLens, the JV between Maersk and IBM that is digitising shipping, a $4 trn global market, by creating a maritime shipping ecosystem. It now involves over 100 organisations, including 20 ocean-going transport companies, 27 ports, and numerous inland transportation companies, freight forwarders, cargo owners and customs authorities.
The digitisation of shipping, or any other process, provides a trusted network that is predictable, reliable and secure; providing information exchange on a platform where all stakeholders benefit.
Blockchain’s transformational power to change markets and industries is significant. Whether you are pushed or pulled, it is time to become familiar with the infrastructure required and get some new swimmers.
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