‘Blockchain is not the solution to all problems’
When it comes to logistics, blockchain can help companies and industries move forward. Such systems can help reduce reductions and cost of operations, while also ensuring that there is a mutual trust between the parties and data involved. Klara Paardenkooper, lecturer and researcher at Rotterdam Business School, spoke about the logistiscs applications of blockchain during the Freight & Terminal Forum in Utrecht.
Paardenkooper first told about Gartners hype cycle involving technological innovations. At it’s height, everyone sees an innovation such als blockchain as the answer to everything. But it is not, and when that realization sinks in, the curve goes down. Then back up again, but this time more gradually towards the actuale implementation of the innovation. Blockchain is pretty close to that fase in Paardenkoopers’ assessment.
She spoke about closed private blockchain as opposed to something like BitCoin, which is open to everyone. Paardenkooper thinks blockchain is not as complicated as it is often made out to be. Essentially, it is a system for recording data. There’s no central authority involved, which also makes it impossible to corrupt the system in just one place. One would need acces to a majority of the computers involved to make that happen, which is supposed to be virtually impossible. So a blockchain keeps data safe.
“Blockchain can be a solution to many things, but it is not a solution to everything”, said Paardenkooper. And it will potentially change the game. All the data transactions that now require central government and ‘middle men’ or third parties, will in the future no langer need those parties and governments. With blockchain, industries can potentially take care of all that data transacting themselves. All the systems yet have to learn, is the human treat of reason. And the systems can eventually master this as well.
Advantages to using a blockchain system are a reduction of costs and risks, more speed and reliabilty, sustainability and flexibility. Paardenkooper adds image to that: companies simply opt to use blockchain because it sounds good en reflects on them as being modern and up to date. In reality, such systems mainly help with reducing risks and increase the reliability of data transactions, while of all the perceived advantages, flexibility is the one least achieved.