Blockchain projects attracting big names
A series of recent announcements demonstrate the applicability of blockchain for major projects, and they are backed by names of such size that it is worth taking notice.
Blockchain projects have attracted plenty of debate recently. Enthusiasts propose the technology for all kinds of uses, while many sceptics argue that, beyond cryptocurrency, the uses for blockchain are almost non-existent. As is often the case, the truth is somewhere between the two extremes.
At the Future Blockchain Summit in Dubai on May 1, a group of the world’s leading car makers, including GM, Ford, BMW and Renault, announced plans for a blockchain initiative that would provide “security and sovereignty over […] driving data, manage ride-share and car-share transactions, and store vehicle identity and usage information”.
The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative, which also includes IBM, Bosch and, from the cryptocurrency world, Ethereum and Iota, plans to create standards for the era of ‘mobility of a service’, which is currently led by startups such as Uber.
Sachin Lulla, of IBM, said: “A set of blockchain standards for the mobility industry will allow auto, infrastructure and service providers to efficiently communicate and transact with each other. Bringing the industry together and building interoperable blockchain networks is key to helping the automotive industry unleash the potential of blockchain.”
This isn’t the only blockchain project that IBM has embraced recently. Last month it announced its support for TrustChain, a blockchain technology designed to underwrite the provenance of jewellery throughout the whole supply chain.
In a sector where trust is vital, TrustChain will make it possible for a retailer, consumer or anyone else involved in the buying and selling of jewellery to quickly and easily check a piece and see its entire path. That means things like sustainability and labour conditions should be easier to monitor.
Finally, BBVA last month became the first bank in the world to use blockchain to issue a loan. The Spanish bank conducted negotiation and completion for the €75m corporate loan on a private blockchain before registering the completed project on Ethereum’s public blockchain.
The bank said that digitising the negotiation process “improved the management time, reducing it from days to hours”. Derek White, of BBVA, added: “The use of blockchain in this transaction has greatly increased transparency and speed, while equally improving efficiency – it’s a win-win.”
What all these projects have in common is that they are robust, real-world uses for blockchain technology backed by big names. These aren’t gimmicky vanity projects. Blockchain technology is moving beyond the era of hype and into mainstream business processes. It’s an exciting transition to watch.