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The Supply Chain Management Blog covers the latest in SCM strategy, technology, and innovation.

  • June 11, 2018

Blockchain for the Future of Global Trade

Evelyn Mei
Product Strategy Manager

Dubai, one of the most futuristic cities in the world, announced its strategy to become the world’s first blockchain powered government by 2020. As part of this transformational scheme, a number of initiatives have been launched, including:

  • Blockchain-based paperless government
    • To process all visa applications, bill payments, etc. digitally through blockchain
  • Blockchain-based vehicle life-cycle management
    • To track ownership, sale, and accident history of every vehicle at any moment of its life cycle.
  • Blockchain-based real estate transaction management
    • To secure financial transactions and electronically record all real estate contracts

Although these projects are still at early stages, they signal the government’s strong confidence in blockchain technology and high expectation of its value.

Why Blockchain?

Blockchain is a digital system for maintaining ledgers. The ledger is encrypted and distributed securely across a network. Data is stored in immutable blocks. Once data has been written to a blockchain, no single participant, not even a system administrator, can change it.

What’s even more exciting, in a complex business environment where organizations might not fully trust each other, blockchain can bring them together. When granted access, parties can write to a common blockchain and view relevant data. All permitted members of the blockchain network can see the same transaction history in the same order, such that all members can agree on the same set of records and reach consensus.

With the immutability property and consensus mechanism, people can potentially leverage blockchain to create reliable tools for tracking and proving production and ownership history. Vehicles, real estate, and many other kinds of high value assets that need transparent and comprehensive historical records are likely to benefit from blockchain solutions.  Startups are working on decentralized registries for unique assets such as art, fine wines, and watches. The world’s biggest diamond producer, De Beers, is also building out an industry-wide blockchain. The firm aims to track diamonds each time they change hands in order to verify authenticity and ensure they are ethically produced.

Blockchain for Global Trade

Country of origin determination in global trade is essential. It can affect, among other things, the rate of duty, the eligibility for special programs, admissibility, quota, procurement by government agencies and marking requirements of the merchandise. It is also a key factor that consumers are concerned about when making purchase decisions.

However, in the current state of globally integrated supply chains, knowledge about the country of origin is not as transparent. There have been a number of customs violations where companies try to commit transshipment fraud in order to evade antidumping duties and seek economic benefits.  Some companies forge documents such that the true countries of origin are disguised. Unfortunately, there has not been a very efficient way to trace the true product origin and invalidate the counterfeit documents.

A blockchain for international trade, which tracks the origins of all globally sourced components as well as their transportation history, could potentially resolve this problem. It enables customs authorities, downstream partners and consumers to trace back the global supply chain, giving them full visibility and confidence guaranteed by the immutability of blockchain. With this rigorous recording and auditing tool,  misstatement of country of origin – intentional or unintentional – can be avoided.

There are a number of benefits:

  • For customs authorities: reduce the occurrence of customs violations, lower auditing cost and better protect the revenue of the country.
  • For trading companies: increase transactional trust, reduce risks and associated moral hazards, especially for less established companies.
  • For consumers: gain more knowledge about the product and be more assured of their choice

How to Build a Blockchain Solution?

Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service, a part of Oracle Cloud Platform, was announced at Oracle OpenWorld in October 2017.

Amit Zavery, executive vice president for Oracle Cloud Platform, explains: “Blockchain holds the promise to fundamentally transform how business is done, making business-to-business interactions more secure, transparent, and efficient,” he adds. “Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service provides enterprise-grade blockchain capabilities and is able to accelerate innovation for on-premises ERP and cloud-based SaaS and PaaS customers.”

Compared with other existing blockchain solutions, Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service gives customers a unique benefit. It is provided as an autonomous PaaS offering on Oracle Cloud Platform. Oracle handles patches, fixes, and backward compatibility as standards evolve.

Check out Oracle Blockchain Cloud Service and read the eBook to learn more about blockchain – one of today’s most disruptive emerging technologies.

 

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