Interoperability and standards to interconnect and interact with blockchains will become more and more important
Read the key takeaways of my keynote at the Blockchain Seminar for Supply Chain last month in Houston https://bit.ly/2rLI5kI
We expect that in future there will not be a single global blockchain network for logistics but instead many isolated permissioned blockchains:
1. Community blockchains e.g. organized per port as in Antwerp, Abu Dhabi, Rotterdam
2. Initiatives from ecosystems between consortia members
3. Blockchain initiatives of individual companies e.g. Maersk, Wallmart.
We believe that current time is not right for a single platform due to commercial sensitivities, distinct views on technology choices and different perspective on governance of blockchain networks. Governance is a not to underestimate topic for blockchains. Although some believe there is no middleman, there is still a strong requirement for a governance body setting the rules of the game: when to update/fork, who to grant permission, … and this can range from democracy based on voting up to a monopoly where one big party defines the rules. Every blockchain is like a country, a sovereign entity with its own law. Stakeholders in any supply chain, whether they are private companies or authorities, decide which countries to join implicitly following the ruler of the country or the citizens in more democratic regimes.
All 3 above variants share however the desire to foster inter-company collaboration at arm’s length and this in full trust, hence without a strong middleman able to change on the fly the agreed rules of the game (ie. need for governance). Through these isolated blockchains new efficiency gains are expected in a similar way as in previous decades the introduction of ERP software increased intra-company efficiency.
Although there is a lot of value in these blockchain islands, to benefit the full potential, these isolated networks will need to be linked with enterprise legacy software and interconnect with each other to allow any to any transactions crossing boundaries of individual blockchains.
This will require specific standards for this vertical (hopefully based on API interaction instead of EDI) and blockchain interoperability meaning the ability to interconnect blockchain to bridge between these emerging blockchain islands.
Happy to observe that UNECE is working on these standards and that on the topic of interoperability promising progress is expected on interconnecting blockchains via the internet of blockchains from #Cosmos