The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has partnered with a blockchain startup from Singapore that aims to explore the technology in every possible way. Blockchain was made popular by Bitcoin, which made it possible for people to move money across countries without having to go through banks. This is an important aspect of the technology that the ICC thinks will drive the future to be more efficient and open than it has at any point in the past.
John Denton, Secretary General of the ICC, says that “we can trace back the ICC interventions that made a big impact on the global economy in the 20th century” and believes that its blockchain initiatives can do the same. In fact, he is quite sure that blockchain can be a literal game-changer for the global logistics market like no other technology before it. He wants people to look back in 100 years and see that the ICC's use of blockchain allowed the private sector to be more open, efficient and sustainable.
The partnership was signed on March 20th and will be formally announced later today. The ICC is holding an event in Singapore for the formal announcement. According to the agreement Perlin will join as an official technology partner for the ICC, while the ICC itself will recruit interested companies into the fledgling blockchain alliance.
Moving Quickly In A Field That Moves Quickly
The partnership between the ICC and Perlin Net Group already has some projects underway. While other consortia might have waited to start projects before announcing them, the ICC Blockchain/DLT Initiative has clients that use blockchain to increase efficiency right now.
Perlin has been working with Asia Pacific Rayon to track fibers via the “Follow Our Fibre” initiative. APR logs data at every point in its supply chain using blockchain. They believe that this will increase efficiency and help show their clients that they can trust where the fabric was made. Fashion is a finicky industry where bad news can make or break companies. Making sure all the fabric provided by APR is easily traceable and transparent is a real competitive advantage.
There are three more initial beneficiaries of the project. An unnamed tuna processor in South America is going to use the same system as well as a cobalt mine in Africa. These two industries have been plagued by supply-chain problems. Unethical cobalt mining and dolphin mean in tuna has been on the news in multiple countries. Consumers simply do not want to have anything to do with such products. Blockchain offers an effective and efficient way to share supply-chain information in a transparent and secure way with the general public.
Another company onboard with the project is Mfused. Mfused is a Washington State-based cannabis processor. Everything will be logged from the time of planting to the time of inhaling – complete transparency in an industry that is still relatively new and in a legal grey area in the United States.
Massive Network Creates Opportunities And Threats
Perlin and the ICC believe that if enough supply-chains are hooked onto its blockchain, that the businesses would be able to create digital representations of their products. This would be done vi tokens and could potentially transfer cross border trade in a truly disruptive way. Having this as an option would enable various companies to trade independently of banks. Banks usually handle letters of credit and bills of lading, whereas all this could be done on the blockchain and with tokenized commodities.
Denton says that an interesting economic model could see the ICC and its partner provide effective governance using the above system. He says that having just 13 banks in the world handle all international shipping is danger and that decentralizing this would lead to a more sustainable future.
However, there is a problem. Regulators have been going after similar tokens very hard, and competitors such as IBM are using permission-based blockchains to circumvent the need for tokens. Denton thinks that with the ICC's massive presence around the world and its 45 million members will be able to ease through the regulatory hurdles that have been set up.
The potential of a tokenized commodity exchange based on the verifiable supply-chains of over 45 million member companies worldwide is too big a breakthrough to let go. He also mused wryly that blockchain should be an enabler for all businesses,
“not just massive companies that can afford IBM.”