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The Next Steps in Blockchain Development in Shipping

At this year’s GST & Shipping2030 Europe Conference, Deanna MacDonald, CEO & Co-Founder of BLOC, announced a funding partnership between Lloyd’s Register Foundation and BLOC.

“We are very much looking forward to utilise not only significant amount of funds and resources, that Lloyd’s Register Foundation and group can provide us, but as well as industry insights. Also, it legitimises not only our work and gives us a focus area in risk and health and safety, which is an area that we, ourselves, focus on, [including] critical infrastructure, but it will help us leverage their partnerships that they already have, for example with the Alan Turing Institute, and furthermore [help us] to mobilise industry actors with such a substantial and significant partner”, MacDonald said.

Thanks to the maritime industry’s interest in blockchain technology, more companies and more research projects are appearing across the sector. Last year, 300cubits became one of the first companies that offered bitcoin solutions to the maritime industry, while Maersk & IBM are looking at ways to leverage blockchain to digitise the supply chain. CargoX is creating a blockchain based smart bill of lading, while ShipChain is working to utilise blockchain’s ability to track the whole supply chain securely while improving on accountability and transparency issues, both of which cost the logistics sector dearly.

The race to bring innovative blockchain-based solutions is happening already, but for MacDonald, it is clear that there is still miles to go and trials to conduct. We’ve asked MacDonald about how collaborations propelled the application of blockchain in shipping, and it turns out, we are only at the beginning of exploring what blockchain can do.

“At the very least, [the investigation into blockchain technology has] allowed us to have a forum to start discussing in a collaborative manner”, MacDonald said. “From there to actually creating a pilot project, a joint venture, or an opportunity together is the next step. It requires a lot of work, of course.”

One of the most sought after features of blockchain is its irrefutable data, so next, we asked MacDonald how blockchain could create trust? The answer is surprisingly philosophical and has a lot to do with responsibility and accountability.

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