Over 90 Companies Join IBM and Maersk’s TradeLens Blockchain Shipping Platform

  • Tech giant IBM partnered with shipping leviathan Maersk to develop a blockchain-based shipping platform over a year ago.
  • That platform, now named TradeLens, is now leaving Beta after seeing over 90 companies start using it.

Shipping giant Maersk has been working with tech giant IBM on a previously unnamed collaboration, developing a blockchain-based shipping solution. Said collaboration now has over 90 participants, and has been named TradeLens.

According to Forbes, the platform has been quietly “orchestrating global trade with less reliance on middlemen for a year,” and has so far tracked 154 million shipping events across over 300 locations throughout the world. These include ports, cargo shippers, logistics companies, and more.

Collectively the shipping companies involved in the collaboration represent more than 20% of the global supply chain market share, Forbes claims. TradeLens is now leaving its Beta phase into limited availability, and launching a new custom smart contract service that’ll help participants execute shipping orders while cutting down the number of middlemen.

Marie Wieck, general manager and head of blockchain at IBM, was quoted as saying:

We have seen a lot of skeptics talk about the validity of blockchain solutions. And I think with over 90 organizations and over 150 million events captured on the system we really are seeing proof in the pudding in terms of where people are spending their time to get benefits from blockchain.

Marie Wieck

TradeLens’ advantages, as TechCrunch describes, are based on its three components. The blockchain component gives companies a mechanism they can use to track goods out for delivery, while its APIs let developers build on top of TradeLens and further improve efficiency. The third component, a set of standards used to facilitate data sharing, is set to improve workflow.

Thanks to the use of blockchain technology, TradeLens secures data with digital encryption built in, while improving transparency. Network participants using it are able to check a block on the blockchain to track a process, instead of requesting data from a middleman. The system, as Wieck noted, doesn’t eliminate fraud, although it helps fight it.

She said:

If you had fraudulent data at start, blockchain won’t help prevent that. What it does help with is that you have multiple people validating every data set and you get greater visibility when something doesn’t look right.

Marie Wieck

Using TradeLens’ advantages, Wieck claimed users can save as much as 40% on shipping. To generate the data they need, both IBM and Maersk are running a node on their blockchain, which uses HyperLedger Fabric.

Blockchain-Related Services

While the bitcoin and ethereum blockchains, for example, are public, TradeLens is set to charge participants for access to its distributed ledger. Per Forbes the price for access isn’t yet set, but the smart contract service that’s set to help participants, dubbed ClearWay, will be priced separately.

Notably Big Four accounting firm Deloitte has earlier this year revealed it was raising $100 million to launch a supply chain platform that would use the ethereum blockchain, in a move that’s set to help reduce freight rates.

Tech giant Microsoft has, as CryptoGlobe covered,  launched a Proof-of-Authority (PoA) algorithm for Ethereum on Azure that’s set to improve its Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) offering on its cloud computing service.

Blockchain-related developments have been stacking up, as Ukraine’s election body used the NEM blockchain in a voting trial that found it would cost $1,227 to implement a node in every police station in the country. Recently, Turkey launched its first blockchain research and innovation center.

PayPal is Cautiously Optimistic About Partnership with Libra Association

  • PayPal cautious about future with Facebook's digital currency libra. 
  • Payment platform was one of the first companies to join and support the Libra Association.

Payment platform PayPal is cautiously optimistic about its relationship with Facebook’s digital currency libra, despite being the highest-profile company to join the Libra Association. 

PayPal Backs Libra Association

In June, shortly after the official unveiling of Facebook’s libra, PayPal announced an intention to join and support the Libra Association, a collection of tech and finance companies promoting the product. 

At the time, PayPal billed the digital currency as a revolutionary product for people around the world, 

We believe in democratizing participation in the digital economy for people from all walks of life, and businesses of all sizes.

However, PayPal appears cautious about its future with Facebook’s digital currency. PayPal investor relations vice president Gabrielle Rabinovitch reiterated Sept. 12 that the company is a non-binding agreement with libra, 

It's a non-binding commitment. And obviously, I think there's a lot of work to happen before we get to that point where it becomes something more than just a very exciting idea.

She added, 

The goals and ambitions of Libra are very consistent with PayPal's overall ambitions in terms of serving the underserved; democratizing access to capital. So we very much believe in the potential of Libra.

While PayPal appears optimistic about the future of libra, the digital currency has endured months of regulatory and political scrutiny concerning its release. 

Earlier in the week, senior U.S. Treasury official Sigal Mandelker told an audience in Geneva that libra would be held to the highest standard of regulatory compliance in order to combat money laundering and terrorist funding.


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