GE Transportation, a division of General Electrics that handles transportation equipment for railroads, mining, drilling and power generation, has announced on a press release on March 1 that it has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a global consortium of leaders in the transportation industry that promotes the use of blockchain technology.
BiTA is a standard advocacy organization with high-profile members like FedEx, Penske, Salesforce, Uber Freight, SAP, UPS and more. It was established in 2017. The 290 plus members of BiTA represent more than a trillion dollars in collective revenue. Its main focus is currently on the transport and logistics industries.
GE Transportation is a Chicago-based business that has hubs all over the world. It has always been at the forefront of digital technology. The company joining BiTA further strengthens the position of the trade organization worldwide.
Blockchain is helping the logistics industry with scaling and sustainability. The logistics industry employs a large part of the global workforce and has important stakes in saving costs through using cutting-edge technology. The GE transportation decision to join BiTA ensures there will be more R&D to improve blockchain integration in the transportation and logistics industries.
BMW, the prominent German car manufacturer, is working with a blockchain startup in London to get clean cobalt, according to Reuters report.
Even though the name of the startup company has not been announced by BMW, the company is considered to be Circulor. This news comes at the heel of another BMW partnership with VEChain Thor, a China-based blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) company.
A big problem in the cobalt supply-chain is the use of child labor. Around two-thirds of the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of Congo. And one-fifth of the mines in Congo are artisanal mines where child labor laws are not adhered to properly.
At the moment, Circulor is working on a pilot program with BMW to track cobalt from countries like Australia and Canada. The clean cobalt from these countries is being used as a proof-of-concept. Circulor expects to cut down regulatory costs using its barcoding and blockchain recording methods.
The German automaker has not officially confirmed the partnership. However, Circulor CEO Johnson-Poensgen has talked about the partnership in Reuters report.
Blockchain is trending the automotive industry. Various car manufacturers are pursuing opportunities to use blockchains to improve their processes and save money. Daimler AG, the Mercedes-Benz manufacturer, has declared its own cryptocurrency MobiCoin. Porsche is trying out blockchain technology for its cars with XAIN.
A recent survey by LendEDU indicates that an Amazon cryptocurrency will be received positively by the consumers. Also, Starbucks, the coffee giant, seems to be considering the possibility of having a proprietary cryptocurrency.
According to the LendEDU survey conducted last month, more than half of the 1000+ respondents are willing to use a cryptocurrency from Amazon. About 44.50 percent of the respondents are willing to use an account on an Amazon bank, and 49.6 percent are willing to use an Amazon savings account. Around 61 percent of the respondents place the same level of trust or more on Amazon than traditional banks.
Even though Amazon hasn’t confirmed any plans of an “Amazon Coin”, it has a deal in place with R3 to use its blockchain-based Corda platform.
On the other hand, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz is known for his opposition to bitcoin. In a Fox Business interview, Schultz has said that his company might end-up being one of the first companies with a “proprietary digital currency”. He expects the digital currency to be an integrated part of Starbucks applications.
More companies are expected to announce their plans for cryptocurrencies this year.
Credit Suisse, the leading Swiss-based financial services company, and ING, the Dutch-based global financial institution, has successfully executed the first blockchain live securities transaction for around 25 million euros (equivalent to $30 million). The transaction was carried out on R3’s Corda Blockchain. It is considered a first of its kind.
The two companies carried out the transaction to transfer legal ownership of German and Dutch government securities. It took place on the HQLAX Cord-based collateral lending application with HQLAX Digital Collateral Records (DCRs).
The event has far-reaching effects. It can help regulatory boards monitor future transactions directly and create a more transparent securities market. It also will decrease operational risks. Financial institutes will be able to better manage their capital in the future. The success of this large-scale transaction proves that blockchain can scale to resolve real-world problems. By the end of 2018, ING hopes to go live with the application.
Last year, R3 has also launched its distributed ledger technology (DLT) product Corda on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) platform. Besides ING, R3 is working closely with BNP and Commerzbank. Major banks are partnering with R3 to start a trading platform. The distributed database company has also started a Legal Center of Excellence (LCoE) to improve worldwide legal education around blockchain technologies.
Porsche, the maker of premium automotive, is partnering with XAIN, a blockchain-based expandable AI network, to implement blockchain-based applications for Porsche cars. According to a press release, Porsche is one of the first automobile manufacturers to successfully test blockchain in automobiles.
Porsche will be using smart contracts and machine learning to accomplish quite a few tasks. Blockchain would be used to control access to cars. Smart contracts will determine if a car ownership or lease is up-to-date and provide car access accordingly. It can also be used to give temporary access to the vehicle remotely.
Blockchain will also play a crucial role in faster and more secure data transfer. New business models can take advantage of the encrypted data logging. The car-centric blockchains can be used to pay for parking, gas or charging.
The manufacturer is also optimistic about the future prospects of blockchain in the automotive industry. It expects the technology to help improve the learning capabilities and safety features of autonomous cars.
BigchainDB, a blockchain-based database, has been a proponent of the use of blockchain for the automotive industry. According to BigchainDB, the automotive industry can use blockchain to track and verify automotive parts and vehicle provenance.
According to Fintech Finance, on March 1, 2018, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) released a patent by the retail giant Walmart that shows the company is working on a blockchain-based delivery system.
The patent is known as “smart package”. It shows that Walmart will use the blockchain-based system to track addresses, environmental conditions, package content and other information. The “smart package” patent application was filed in August 2017. In the United States, it generally takes 18-months for the patent to become effective after the publication of a patent application.
The device in the application is intended for self-driving cars and self-navigating drones. Walmart has expressed that the potential patent will provide better security for delivery systems.
The transportation and logistics industry has both shown great interest in blockchain technology. So Walmart’s foray into the blockchain-based delivery system should not come as a surprise to anyone.
IBM has been using blockchains for supply chain management. Last year, TechCrunch reported that the US shipping company UPS is going to support the Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA), a group dedicated to creating blockchain standards for the freight industry.