Blockchain technology may yet make mountains of paper in delivery chains superfluous and reduce the number of errors and people involved in supply chains.
From crypto currencies to blockchain technology
Blockchains serve as a public ledger for all transactions, which are all based on trust. Smooth procedures cannot always be guaranteed. But the combination of digital signatures, hash functions and a new kind of consensus architecture means transactions can be processed without intermediaries. Frank Bolten, Managing Partner at Chainstep consultancy, said: “The blockchain is also called a ‘record of trust’. Data become facts. In a heterogeneous environment like transport logistics, a blockchain can help make many applications transparent and secure.”
Many uses for blockchains
Blockchains are a core part of bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies and are recorded chronologically and publicly. Blockchains are essentially transparent and manipulation-proof procedures for tracking transactions. Inspections and authentications are automated based on a decentralised network. Blockchains are also used in smart contracts or computer protocols intended to facilitate, verify or enforce the negotiation or performance of a contract. Such procedures do not require human intervention and could take effect when goods arrive in ports, railway stations or airports. Then orders can be issued and handed over to the right haulier.
Smart logistics in Hamburg’s “Digital-Hub”
Blockchains are considered the technology of the future and the Hamburg Digital Hub opened in late August. Now Chainstep is aiming to make blockchains useful for companies. Bolten pointed out: “We believe that blockchain technology will determine the future of commerce. That’s why we decided to launch Chainstep.” And there are many more fields of application for the relatively new technology. He added: “Whenever participants with different interests are involved in a process, blockchains can be an interesting basic technology.” This applies to both the financial and energy sectors and public authorities.