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Blockchain: Risks and Rewards for the Future of the Supply Chain

How can you determine which solutions are a good fit for your organization?
By Michael Carmody
Mar 11, 2020

As enterprise shippers and logistics organizations look over the horizon for their blockchain bearings, there is a growing trend toward inaction when deciding which path to blaze. Organizations are asking themselves several questions during the decision-making process, assessing both the risks and rewards of blockchain within the future of supply chain execution.

Here are five considerations when deciding which blockchain solutions best fit your organizational needs.

Build vs. Buy | Top of Mind
Organizations need to decide whether they want to buy blockchain services and tools or build their own blockchain ledger workbench. With blockchain data solutions, there is an additional element of risk in that most ledgers will need to be replaced, maybe regularly, until the market settles into agreed-upon forms and toolkits that can be adopted as the mainstream accepted standard.

An organization putting its data into a blockchain ledger raises the risk of having to reinvest money and development hours every time a new partner joins or continues to run the network that has already been developed. When a need arises to update ledger participants, the current blockchain workbench becomes a legacy artifact. Successful future blockchains will need to solve this data obsolescence challenge to incorporate legacy data chains.

Private vs. Public | Where Are the Real Benefits?
The next fork in the blockchain road for organizations is whether to invest in public or private blockchain. Public blockchain seems to offer the ideal situation, where all parties build their data chains on a common, agreed-upon format so they interchange for all parties in the network. Currently, clearly stated standards are not in place to encourage confidence from all parties involved, especially in today's freight markets. The Blockchain in Transportation Alliance has accepted this challenge.

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