We know that blockchain technology could one day transform the transport industry, indeed, blockchain technology promises very big things for logistics. Since the blockchain is such a big idea however, we need to explore exactly which aspects of the blockchain are useful to logistics, because let’s face it, shipping companies don’t really have any use for creating gambling dApps, nor will Maersk benefit from creating their own cryptocurrency. It’s important to remember that the blockchain is more than just Fintech, it’s more than just finance, the blockchain is an automated process and an immutable ledger, one that can make any industry more transparent.
Immutability refers to a constant, something that cannot be changed or corrected, this is vital in shipping and in logistics as it's the only way to ensure legitimacy. When goods are exported or imported, they are backed by tags, serial numbers and other processes that ensure the products are legit and not fake. By using distributed ledger technology such as we find within the blockchain, these records can be kept and made publically accessible, without having the risk of an entity being able to change them, meaning counterfeit goods can’t enter the supply chain and meaning that all products are registered and legitimate.
By being publically accessible, a number of companies involved in shipping, from the distributor, to the shipper or carrier, right through to local government, revenue and customs, a ledger on the blockchain can be seen and maintained by all of these factions, without the need for paper or without the need to trust somebody to accurately deliver a paper or electronic ledger.
Being immutable is the key to the success of the blockchain in this instance. Yes, it’s ability to facilitate financial transactions is great, and hosting dApps is an incredible function, but actually, it’s the bare bones of the blockchain and its decentralised nature that will see this technology become adopted. When will it become adopted? That’s a big question, though it's one that we hope to find some serious answers to pretty soon.