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Port of Montreal Starts Utilizing Blockchain to Enhance Freight Shipping Efficiency

  • Alex Morris
    📰 News

    The cargo industry is still plagued with red tape, but Blockchain is poised to change that

Port of Montreal Starts Utilizing Blockchain to Enhance Freight Shipping Efficiency
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Nouriel Roubini, a notorious cryptocurrency critic, calls Blockchain “useless,” but the revolutionary technology keeps disrupting a myriad of different industries. Financial Post reveals that Blockchain is now being utilized by the Port of Montreal, Canada, in order to modernize its freight shipping service.

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Jumping on the Blockchain bandwagon

According to the report, IBM, an old-line tech giant, is behind the new Blockchain-powered technology that allows seamlessly sharing data from ocean carriers and ports. IBM’s representative Manav Gupta claims that TradeLens, the new digitalized platform, will curb rampant bureaucracy in the maritime niche: it takes tons of paperwork to move a container ship from one port to another. Blockchain will help to increase the efficiency of shipping, taking advantage of the rising cargo volumes.

The importance of global cooperation

TradeLens is the product of a collaboration between IBM and Danish shipping behemoth Maersk. After being launched back in August, this shipping solution has already been taken on board by more than 90 organizations, including the ports of Singapore and Rotterdam. While it is challenging to cooperate with your rivals, there is a mutual benefit in data sharing (it has been proven to reduce logistics costs).      

Inma Borrella, a Blockchain expert from MIT, believes that the success of the newfangled platform depends on how eagerly global business leaders are willing to adopt it. She adds that the ocean industry is rather reluctant to embrace new tech trends, and it still heavily relies on outdated paper documentation. Many institutions, she claims, are dipping their toes in this nascent technology, but they are not entirely sure whether their initial investment will pay off.

Is the technology secure enough?

Undoubtedly, paperwork has plenty of security flaws, and Blockchain emerges as a significantly more secure alternative because of its irreversible nature. However, the fact that there were so many crypto-related hacks is still alarming, and some industry experts believe that the distributed ledger technology is not a surefire way to achieve complete data protection.

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10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019

  • Alex Morris
    📚 WikiCoin

    From the Internet-of-Things (IoT) convergence to startups for the unbanked — find out what to expect from Blockchain in 2019 with U.Today. It’s been more than ten years since Blockchain was introduced in Satoshi’s famed white paper. The technology has expanded far beyond cryptocurrencies, disrupting plenty of industries. We will reveal why Blockchain will stay no matter what happens to Bitcoin.

10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
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While cryptocurrencies took a hammering, 2018 was huge for Blockchain, the technology that underpins Bitcoin and a myriad of other coins. Blockchain has plenty of use cases outside of the cryptocurrency space with IBM, Oracle, and Amazon and other multi-billion dollar companies trying to capitalize on the disruptive technology. Now, it’s time to find out what major Blockchain trends will define the current year.   

STOs replacing ICOs

 Security tokens (STOs) have been a hot topic in the crypto space, and it looks like they will continue to be hot now that Overstock’s tZERO announced the launch of the new STO platform on Jan. 21. The Blockchain-powered platform will provide any company with the opportunity to raise funds by launching its own STOs. Prior to that, the startup made an announcement about the completion of its utility token distribution.
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
STOs, which combine the best features of the stock market and cryptocurrencies, arose as a fully regulated alternative to ICOs, which turned out to be the passing fad of 2017.   

Tokenization creating more investment opportunities

The launch of the Estonia-based DEX, which buys the shares of the biggest companies in the world in the form of ERC20 tokens, proved that 2019 is all about tokenization. The Ethereum-powered startup will allow non-US investors to engage in the US stock market without any limitations pertaining to their location or investment amount.  
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
Crypto startup Zilliqa also recently introduced Hg Exchange, a fully regulated exchange that allows accredited investors to buy US stocks.   

Tokenization already became a pervasive trend in 2018, going far beyond the stock market, but this is the year when pretty much everything will be tokenized – art, wine, real estate, etc.

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Blockchain and IoT forming an alliance

Back in January, leading digital security company Gemalto released a report that states that 23 percent of responders think that Blockchain technology could be a boon for securing IoT-powered devices. Meanwhile, almost 91 percent of businesses who do not utilize Blockchain consider making use of the technology in the future.

The number of IoT-powered devices is expected to reach 26.66 bln in 2019, but less than half of all businesses can detect whether their device experienced a security breach.   
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
IBM also illustrated the benefits for this convergence with the help of their game-changing platform Watson IoT. Apart from bringing more security to the table, Blockchain significantly simplifies the task of managing different devices and increases the efficiency of the transaction.

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Wall Street transitioning from dabbling to actions

The fact that cryptocurrency prices took a nosedive in 2018 doesn’t mean that the global financial industry is going to suddenly give up on Blockchain. As U.Today reported earlier, Bakkt, the ICE-backed exchange, was supposed to go live in January, but its launch was eventually delayed due to the longest government shutdown in history. Speaking of other ‘big-fish’ players, NASDAQ and the NYSE plan to launch Bitcoin futures while also being keen on Blockchain. Since the crypto hub died down, there is a good reason to believe that 2019 will be the year of exciting developments in the Blockchain space.
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019

More decentralized exchanges appearing on the horizon

Decentralized exchanges, while actually living up to Satoshi’s vision, have numerous usability issues that take a toll on their popularity. There is no centralized authority that manages the users’ funds, but it’s also a double-edged sword problem – there is no way to revert a certain transaction if private keys are stolen or lost. Keep in mind that there are certain degrees of centralization. Case in point: the Bancor DEX, which suffered from a $13.5 mln hack, though Charlie Lee later claimed that no decentralized exchange can lose its funds.   
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
With that being said, major crypto startups – from Binance to Tron – have launched their own DEXs in order to spearhead the shift towards decentralization in the crypto world.     

Governments will continue looking into Blockchain

The wide variety of Blockchain applications are being explored by governments across the globe (even those ones who are openly hawkish towards cryptocurrencies). China cracked down on Bitcoin, but this country is hell-bent on becoming the leader in the Blockchain race. Shanghai, Guangzhou and other major cities are all supporting Blockchain developments. As reported by U.Today, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) launched an initiative to incentivize business who are working with the DLT technology. Moreover, there are specific Blockchain guides in China for educating government officials.
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
Estonia is yet another country that is focused on the e-Estonia program that will digitize the government. Meanwhile, Dubai could become the very first government that is powered by Blockchain. The implementation of Blockchain could help Dubai save up to $1.5 bln per year by cutting the red herring and creating a fully paperless government.

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Blockchain-powered startups banking the unbanked

Africa, where a substantial part of the population remains unbaked, represents a breeding ground for different startups that utilize Blockchain technology in order to increase economic inclusiveness. The Rohingya Project went even further by using Blockchain to restore the identity of stateless Rohingyas and give them access to banking services.  
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019

Real-word use cases beyond fintech  

It is worth noting that Blockchain is the most disruptive technology of the last decade, but it remains unknown to the general public. Yes, along with Bitcoin, Blockchain was one of the buzzwords in the tech space, but it’s all about real-world adoption. According to PwC research, 84 percent of companies have dipped their toes into Blockchain, but they are not ready to embrace it due to numerous ‘trust issues.’ Those who will be able to integrate Blockchain into their businesses will turn out to be the true winners of 2019.
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019

Scalability becoming one of the main issues

Without a doubt, scalability is one of the major bottlenecks of Blockchain, which poses a major hindrance to mainstream adoption. That became very evident when CryptoKitties, one of the best-known dApps, created congestion on the Ethereum network. Bitcoin and Ethereum are only able to handle seven and 25 TPS (this level of scalability doesn’t hold a candle to mainstream payment processors in the likes of VISA).
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
Hence, many promising solutions, such as sharding and sidechains, are expected to be implemented in 2019. Bitcoin’s Lightning Network (LN), for example, is witnessing growing popularity with major industry players, with an eye-popping 830 percent surge in half a year. LN will significantly boost Bitcoin adoption while solving scalability pain points.   

Blockchain jobs will become more common

Despite Bitcoin, the major use case of Blockchain, taking a hammering in 2018, the number of Blockchain-related jobs continued to grow throughout the year. Moreover, as reported by CNBC, the salaries of Blockchain engineers skyrocketed to $175,000 per year, which means that they receive the highest salaries in the software development niche on par with AI specialists. According to Hired CEO Mehul Patel, ‘there’s a ton of demand for Blockchain.’ On top of that, Upwork, the leading freelance platform, had a 35,000 percent uptick in the number of Blockchain freelancers (it’s the fastest-growing freelance sector).
10 Major Blockchain Trends in 2019
However, earning a six-figure salary is not an easy feat. Blockchain developers have to code in numerous languages, including Go and Solidity. As mentioned above, major companies do not want to miss the boat on Blockchain, so they are striving to hire talented programmers.

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