Blockchain’s Impact on Transportation

The introduction of blockchain has questioned the future of just about every industry, simplifying many aspects while possibly making others obsolete. Understanding the effect blockchain could have on your industry is crucial to anticipate industry changes, especially when industry leaders anticipate a massive effect on transportation.Given this exciting uncertainty, Dashride has joined the MOBI coalition along with BMW, General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Renault to help shape the future of blockchain in the automotive and mobility space. Together, this group hopes to create more scalable and rapid adoption of blockchain technology in order to finally “foster an ecosystem where businesses and consumers have security and sovereignty over their driving data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage information” (Industry Week).

First, what even is blockchain?

Blockchain is the technology that supports digital currency by using “computer code to record every step of a transaction and delivery in a permanent digital ledger, providing transparency” by erasing the middle man. In order to change the ledger, everyone involved must agree as it is shared publicly and can be verified, which significantly lowers fraud concerns as the information exists in millions of places. Blockgeeks, an online Blockchain training platform, simply describes Blockchain with the following analogy: “Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain.”

How will this affect the transportation industry?

Many industry leaders have speculated that this will have an effect on the transportation industry. Since the discovery of blockchain, groups and alliances have formed to create industry standards for use of this technology. Notably, the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) was founded in August 2017, with business powerhouses such as Google, UPS, FedEx, and Uber Freight as members of the group.While at a blockchain conference in New York in May, FedEx Chief Executive Officer Fred Smith stated that his team is “quite confident that it has big, big implications in supply chain, transportation and logistics. It’s the next frontier that’s going to completely change worldwide supply chains.”Although companies like UPS and FedEx are more focused on the delivery of their goods, this also has large implications for the livery business.  According to the alliance, “blockchain has the potential to lower transaction costs, speed up processes and free up working capital.”Most importantly, a streamlined payment system is possible. This is a huge advantage for drivers as standard routes become a “digitized roadmap.” Within the instant a driver completes the trip, payment is transferred.On the business side, fleet drivers can keep records of their drivers and each individual trip, along with maintenance or damage records on each car. According to BiTA’s co-founder Craig Fuller, this increased knowledge allows for companies’ ability to “buy, sell, and repair new vehicles more shrewdly.”Finally, on the consumer side, blockchain technology allows for tracking routes, seeing delayed, and estimating arrival time “down to the minute.”This technology, if proven to run as expected, would create a more efficient, reliable system for all sectors of the transportation business.

So, what does this mean for my business?

While it is not yet certain what effect this technology will have on our society, it’s definitely something to keep an eye on as it could change the transportation industry entirely.Many blockchain trials are only being tested in isolation to prove the concept. Although they have been successful, they do not prove the total capabilities of the technology. It is necessary to continue to follow this trend, as Dashride is doing with the MOBI coalition, as “it has extensive promise for every industry… but the devil is in the details” (Craig Fuller).

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