There’s been much hype this year about how decentralization can disrupt the business of logistics, a huge industry that covers order fulfillment — from transportation, shipping, warehousing, door-to-door delivery and product returns. Blockchain can be one solution.
NEM Foundation, proprietors of top 20 crypto XEM, recently announced that MuleChain, a decentralized peer-to-peer (P2P) logistics startup, will use the NEM blockchain. According to Sept. 4 blog, entrepreneurs can grow their logistics business on the MuleChain decentralized P2P network. It lets gig workers deliver packages in places that are out of reach of postal parcel offices, expanding the reach of the network.
MuleChain’s network can also be crucial during a crisis. “Human logistics networks to be deployed overnight to face natural or human disasters.” NEM’s blog adds, “Public transport services [can] become job providers for the unemployed.”
Distributed, Independent Logistics Providers
In June, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) made waves by announcing an independent and distributed model that hires entrepreneurs to run their own business delivering the Seattle company’s packages. In doing so, Jeff Bezos signals where the industry is headed: That logistics operators will increasingly use a decentralized network of independent drivers and storage spaces that employ gig workers.
Walmart (NYSE: WMT) is also experimenting with similar systems, using a combination of employees and independent drivers who are located near the neighborhoods where products and groceries are delivered. The emergence of blockchain brings into question if and when these two Fortune 100s incorporate the disruptive technology to shake up their logistics practices.
Blockchain In Logistics
Blockchain ventures are well-positioned to disrupt the industry because most utilize decentralized protocols. When you combine this with a larger trend that will see half of America’s labor force as gig workers by 2020 (according to Forbes) and you could have the makings of an industry transformation.
The NEM logistics applications aren’t just reserved for business owners only. Say you’re unemployed and the city government gives you free bus passes, you could choose to deliver packages, earn income and eventually get back on your feet. Or let’s say you’re a veteran who has travel privileges on military aircraft, you could earn supplemental income by carrying delivery packages on your luggage.
“Non-professional [and] occasional travelers [can] defray travel costs by carrying an extra package or two,” according to NEM’s blog. “Local professionals [can conduct] last mile e-commerce delivery to households” and “local drivers or miscellaneous deliveries [can include] parcels, food and mail.”
Amazon, which is on the verge of becoming the first $1 trillion market cap company, is committed to making its logistics transformation succeed. The company’s website states that it’ll provide startup capital, especially to military veterans, to grow its independent delivery network. Undoubtedly, both Amazon and Walmart will optimize their systems to realize operational efficiencies and unlock shareholder value.
The NEM blockchain has various use-cases when it comes to payments and MuleChain will leverage such features. According to Sept. 4 announcement, MuleChain will roll out the MCX token to facilitate transactions, including mobile payments. The startup believes that NEM’s blockchain will enable fast, cheap and reliable payments.
The logistics venture can use NEM’s escrow services which “will setup trustless accounts that can hold, verify, and release funds to different parties based on multisignature contracts.”
With blockchain growing in popularity, it’ll be interesting to see if and when these startups get acquired by Amazon or Walmart. With near trillion-dollar market caps to back them, why not?
Articles by Marvin Dumont:
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article belong solely to the author. Information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice.