September 26, 2018 · By 24/7 Staff ·
FedEx & Hyperledger
According to a press release published September 26, and as reported by FreightWaves, FedEx the giant US courier company, proactive adopter of blockchain technology and Blockchain in Transport Alliance BiTA member, has joined Linux hosted open-source project Hyperledger to further advance the use of distributed ledger in logistics and transportation.
Hyperledger, which was started in December 2015 by The Linux Foundation and now has 270 members, was set up to enable member organizations to build blockchain-based industry-grade applications, platforms and hardware systems in the context of their individual business transactions.
FedEx Proactive Blockchain Adopter
Fred Smith, FedEx CEO said earlier in the year he believes that blockchain is the “next frontier” for global supply chains.
In February this year, FedEx joined BiTA, and Dale Chrystie told FreightWaves:
“We want to work on developing common standards around blockchain technology in the transportation industry, and we continually try to enhance the customer’s experience, and blockchain is tied to that.”
Distributed Ledger Technology
Hyperledger Executive Director Brian Behlendorf has previously stated that distributed ledger technology (DLT) will diminish the power of tech giants like Google, Facebook, and Amazon. In today’s press release he said:
“We are gaining traction around the world in market segments from finance to healthcare and government to logistics. This growth and diversity is a signal of the increasing recognition of the strategic value of enterprise blockchain and commitment to the adoption and development of open source frameworks to drive new business models.”
Hyperledger is a multi-project, multi-stakeholder effort that includes 10 business blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.
Hyperledger enables organizations to build robust, industry-specific applications, platforms, and hardware systems to support their individual business transactions by creating enterprise-grade, open source distributed ledger frameworks and code bases.
The latest general members to join the community are: BetaBlocks, Blockchain Educators, Cardstack, Constellation Labs, Elemential Labs, FedEx, Honeywell International Inc., KoreConX, Northstar Venture Technologies, Peer Ledger, Syncsort and Wanchain.
Blockchain Meets Supply Chain
Blockchain, the technology for crypto-currencies, may soon start to have supply chain benefits in areas like tracking fresh foods. Because Blockchain uses distributed ledger technology, which can store transactions among many trading partners in a secure, immutable way that’s easy to view for authorized partners – giving it the potential for chain of custody over the movement of goods.
According to a survey last fall of third-party logistics providers (3PLs) from Penske Logistics, Infosys Consulting and talent advisory firm Korn Ferry, 30% of 3PLs and 16% of shippers see blockchain as having potential supply chain application. Shanton Wilcox, a partner with Infosys Consulting, says traceability of goods such as fresh foods, high-value items, or items subject to the risk of counterfeiting, are likely applications.
Late last year, IBM, Walmart, and Chinese retailer JD.com launched a Blockchain Food Safety Alliancecollaboration to improve food tracking and safety in China. Additionally, IBM and Maersk are working on a joint venture to apply blockchain to global trade, while the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance (BiTA) is working on blockchain standards for the freight industry.
Read the Article: Is Blockchain in the Supply Chain Coming of Age?
Wilcox estimates that it will be 24 to 36 months, however, before blockchain starts being used by supply chains. First, says Wilcox, pilots need to prove out the value, and consensus needs to be reached about what type of data will be shared – as well as the tricky issue of who will pay for storing data.
“Once a major company and its supply base gets operational with blockchain, or it starts to happen within a product category, companies can use that as a template, and that will propagate the momentum.”
Supply chains need to assess whether blockchain is a better way of controlling chain of custody versus more established technologies like bar codes and messaging between systems, Wilcox acknowledges. However, he contends that it promises value to extended supply chain networks because there’s no integration to iron out between systems.
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