Blockchain technology has sparked a race to see which companies will be first to implement a working distributed ledger solution. The competition is heating up: According to a recent report on the technology by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), organizations would be wise to stay informed.
“Blockchain technologies have the power to disrupt many industries,” the NIST stated. “To avoid missed opportunities and undesirable surprises, organizations should start investigating whether or not a blockchain can help them.”
Some businesses may be clamoring to research, develop and deploy blockchain, but as this race intensifies, distributed ledger technology is also strengthening industry collaboration and cooperation. Dozens of blockchain consortia have formed in recent years as financial institutions (FIs) and corporates across verticals band together in search of the most applicable uses for the tool. As real-world, working applications begin to emerge, the collaboration doesn’t seem to be letting up either. This week’s Blockchain Tracker takes a look at some of the latest pairings in this industry, with collaborations popping up to address global trade, logistics, transit and more.
Alibaba’s Ethereum Tie-Up
Blockchain-based B2B trade platform ModulTrade enlisted Yangting Internet Technology to help small businesses (SMBs) expand internationally, the companies recently announced. Yangting is an investment vehicle for Alibaba, and their collaboration will target SMBs using Alibaba services. Those companies will be able to expand globally by gaining access to the ModulTrade Platform, which uses smart contract technology on Ethereum to facilitate payments, order matching and tracking for B2B trading partners. Companies conduct trade using the MTRc token; together, Alibaba and ModulTrade plan to open an office in China in the second quarter of this year to promote education on the use of the platform and the token.
It Takes a Village
For some startups, it takes a village to make a vision a reality. That’s the underlying idea of crowdfunding, where many hands (and many wallets) contribute to a single goal. Blockchain has set its sights on disrupting the crowdfunding model too. Acorn, which uses Ethereum, is making its debut on the market to launch a collaborative community and marketplace for crowdfunding efforts. Reports in Cointelegraph this week said the company deploys smart, contract-based governance to overcome barriers of the existing crowdfunding market, which include geopolitical boarders, and to mitigate issues of cross-border legal issues. Reports noted Acorn is planning an initial coin offering (ICO) to develop the Acorn Collective, which it said in a white paper will “eradicate the traditional 3 [percent] to 5 percent transaction fees and 5 percent platforms fees normally associated with other crowdfunding platforms, such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo.”
Warren Buffet’s Consortium Link
BNSF Railway, owned by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, has joined the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), the freight conglomerate said. In announcing the move, BNSF Vice President of Technology Services and Chief Information Officer Muru Murugappan highlighted the importance of collaboration in this field.
“Blockchain technology has the potential to change several aspects of the transportation industry, and it is important that the industry comes together to align around a set of standards,” the executive said. “We are excited to help drive those standards forward as a member of BiTA.”
BiTA Forms Its Own Alliance
The Blockchain in Transit Alliance may have grown, but the group itself is forming an entirely new collaboration with — you guessed it — another blockchain alliance. One day after BNSF Railway announced it was joining BiTA, the Alliance revealed a collaboration with the Wall Street Blockchain Alliance (WSBA). Together, the groups want to promote education and understanding of blockchain in the transit, freight and supply chain space. The alliances are holding their first conference later this year.
According to WSBA Chairman Ron Quaranta, each alliance “shares a unique vision of educating our relative marketplaces on blockchain technology, as well as guiding and promoting its forthcoming adoption.”