Right now a potent meeting of technologies is underway.
Container freight, meet smart contracts and meet blockchain.
On the 26th of April 2016 Blockfreight™ the blockchain of global freight was launched marking the genesis of a second revolution in freight, by a blockchain startup, 60 years to the day that Malcolm McLean introduced Containerization to the world. Many consider the maiden voyage of the ISO Shipping Container back in 1956 as the first revolution, ushering in the era of modern container shipping which fundamentally made ‘at scale world trade’ possible.
What this standardisation and encapsulation of goods provided in terms efficiency, the blockchain and tokens is now providing in the next chapter of packaging and data exchange. Blockfreight™, described as the blockchain of global freight, is converging on an industrial application of these technologies.
Why Build a Blockchain for Freight?
Blockfreight™ solves a range of problems and known inefficiencies associated with each container freight movement. Most of these inefficiencies result from the reliance on legacy networks that span multiple national boundaries, networks that were often proprietary and custom built and not necessarily designed to integrate with other networks in the same band.
“The industry now is seeing us emerge as a platform which not only offers greater efficiency, but is incredibly affordable too.” said Chief Executive Officer Julian Smith. “Not to mention, customers really like how transparent and open this platform is!”
The Blockfreight™ solution means participants in the freight industry will have all the benefits of access to an immutable digital record for freight. Participants in the network will be able to embed details regarding trade movements provided they have a Blockfreight™ [BFT:XCP] token. The Blockfreight™ blockchain empowers each stakeholder with access to an advanced global ledger which witnesses the record of freight movements. This data can later be referenced leaving no doubt as to the terms of agreement. Add to this the ability to embed smart contracts and we will probably see Blockfreight™ lead to the spawning of new applications within the global supply chain the likes of which the freight industry has never seen.
Interested parties and stakeholders can build applications on top of the protocol layer of Blockfreight™ with developer support and licensing functions coming out of the commercial arm of the project.
Convergence of Technologies
It is not difficult to imagine the varied applications that will evolve given the technologies that can be deployed. Blockfreight™ code is Open Source (MIT Licensed) and can be accessed on github ( https://github.com/Blockfreight ) where app developers can help build out the application layer.
RFID chips can be installed on individual containers. Smart contracts can be deployed to interact with the ship’s Bills of Lading provided they have reference and access to the content as a party to the transaction. SaaS vendors providing freight management systems can work with Blockfreight™ to enable interface or integration to the blockchain of global freight directly into their platforms via API or by network participation as a node or validator.
One interesting project coming out of Rolls Royce is the vision for the future of shipping. Earlier this year (June 21, 2016) the company released a series on concepts on safety, augmentation and automation. Noteable is the prospect of remote and fully autonomous shipping published as a whitepaper by the company’s Advanced Autonomous Waterborne Applications Initiative (AAWA) to coincide with a presentation at the Autonomous Ship Technology Symposium 2016 in Amsterdam. Concepts such as this demonstrate the direction and broader application of technology within the space and indicate a desire and willingness on the part of industry participants to drive and lead change from within.
Julian Smith – Founder and CEO of Blockfreight™
“Blockfreight™ is not so interested in ‘disruption’ as seems to have become de rigueur these days.” suggests Smith “We are more interested in what can be accomplished expressly with industry insight and cooperation. Our goal is simply to accelerate the pace of change already underway.”
When asked about the industry’s willingness to adopt new technologies and adapt to change Mr. Smith said “In our discussions we really get the sense that for some of our industry this is not just a ‘nice-to-have’ or that business-as-usual is really their main goal; rather there is a thirst for the embrace of new technology such as Blockfreight™ as there is an economic reality of survival driving adoption.”
Network Security and Incentivisation
Borrowing from innovations seen in the Bitcoin blockchain, the Blockfreight™ network will deter attackers seeking to exploit the network. This is achieved through a system of economic incentives for good actors along with cost deterrents for would be bad actors. Access to the network will incur an access fee in the form of access tokens [BFT:XCP]. Using tokens to access the network also serves the dual purpose of acting as an anti-spam mechanism and as a network fee. The Blockfreight™ token needs to be consumed and is therefore spent with each transaction on the blockchain.
On the 1st of June the Blockfreight™ token became available to the public on the Counterparty network. At the time of publishing the token can be purchased at a pre-listing discount rate and can be purchased with Bitcoin.
The Development Team
Blockfreight™ benefits from years of combined freight, logistics and software development expertise. Julian Smith, works with the systems and applications development team and is also a Founder and current CEO of the company. He is backed up on the developer team by research officer Ken Rathanon, who holds a Master’s in Supply Chain and Logistics Management from RMIT University.
The dev team is supported by two co-founders John McKernan and Andrew Ede who bring with them over 30 years of combined experience from the freight and logistics industries. Grant Lenaarts and Alex McLaren have also been added to the team in business, markets and government strategy advisory roles.
Public Interest In The Token Offering
The exchange traded Counterparty asset BLOCKFREIGHT will list on exchanges as [BFT:XCP] at the conclusion of the Initial Token Offer (ITO) scheduled for 7 Sept, 2016. The ITO period will offer up to 50 million tokens which will be released at discount to their USD $1.00 per token retail price point.
At the time of writing the first 1 million token tranche was sold in a private round with the second tranche of 4 million public tokens on sale which can be purchased for 0.02c US until sold. A subsequent and final 3 tranches of token in the ITO of 10 million at 0.03c US, 15 million at 0.04c and the 20 million at 0.05c US will be made available to purchase.
These discounted tokens are released in part as incentives to early adopters or anyone wishing to get involved with the project creating secondary markets or applications on top of the Blockfreight™ platform.
The exchange Bittrex is listing Blockfreight™ tokens under the code [BFT:XCP] at the conclusion of the ITO, subject to final agreement with the company and completion of due diligence by the exchange. A heads of agreement in draft form has been exchanged between the parties and is expected to be finalized in the coming weeks.
Further details of the ICO are available at https://ico.Blockfreight.com