In 2015 The Economist magazine famously dubbed blockchain technology “the trust machine” owing to its ability to create trust in business networks. This capability resonates strongly in the supply chain world, where a lack of trust is a major obstacle to high-level collaboration. The promise of blockchain may be fulfilled in time, but at present its progress is impeded by – ironically – a lack of trust in the technology.
To some extent the problem has its roots in the industry’s healthy skepticism of much-hyped innovations. But there are other trust issues related to the way that supply chains operate. The challenge for blockchain developers and proponents is how to reconcile the technology with these misgivings.
This was a central theme at the recent Blockchain in Supply Chain: Looking Beyond the Hype round table hosted by the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics in October 2017. At the event, some 30 organizations including carriers, shippers and technology companies talked frankly about the potential benefits of blockchain in the supply chain domain.