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Shell Strengthens Blockchain Focus With Startup Investment

Royal Dutch Shell is boosting its position in the world of blockchain through an investment in distributed ledger startup Applied Blockchain.

According to Forbes reports, Shell's trading unit, Shell Trading International, secured a minority stake in the U.K. startup, which develops blockchain apps with a focus on smart contracts. Existing clients include corporations across a range of verticals, like the telecom and manufacturing sectors, but the publication noted that Shell's investment in the company also propels the company into the energy market.

Shell also chose Applied Blockchain as the winner of its startup development competition.

“Such investments and partnerships will accelerate our growth and enable us to deploy our solutions to a truly global business ecosystem,” said Adi Ben-Ari, Applied Blockchain founder and CEO, in a statement.

“Blockchain applications have huge potential to shake up how we do things in the energy industry from streamlining process, to simplifying how we work with our suppliers and serve our customers,” added Johan Krebbers, Shell Global Solutions International chief technology officer for information technology, in another statement. “Investing in Applied Blockchain is part of our commitment to use digitalization to create value in our core business and develop new business models.”

Long-duration capital investments firm Calibrate Partners also took a minority stake in Applied Blockchain, reports noted.

Forbes highlighted Shell's other blockchain activities, including its joining of a blockchain consortium with other industry giants like BP and Statoil. Together, the companies are collaborating on a blockchain platform to facilitate commodities trading for the energy market, and plan to roll out the tool by the end of the year.

Last month, Shell said it expected to take a significant earnings hit as a result of U.S. tax reform — a decline to the tune of $2.5 billion, according to an ABC news report at the time.

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