April 2019 Archive

April 8, 2019
Blockchain’s Occam problem (McKinsey)

Blockchain has yet to become the game-changer some expected. A key to finding the value is to apply the technology only when it is the simplest solution available. There are specific use cases for which blockchain is particularly well-suited. They include elements of data integration for tracking asset ownership and asset status. Examples are found in insurance, supply chains, and capital markets, in which distributed ledgers can tackle pain points including inefficiency, process opacity, and fraud. Blockchain appeals to industries that are strategically oriented toward modernization. These see blockchain as a tool to support their ambitions to pursue digitization, process simplification, and collaboration. In particular, global shipping contracts, trade finance, and payments applications have received renewed attention under the blockchain banner. However, in many cases blockchain technology is a small part of the solution and may not involve a true distributed ledger. In certain instances, renewed energy, investment, and industry collaboration is resolving challenges agnostic of the technology involved.

April 3, 2019
Will Truckers Trade Futures? A New Market Seeks to Draw Freight Bets (WSJ)

The first futures tied to the cost of trucking goods across the U.S. are set to launch on Friday, a new financial tool designed to protect cargo haulers and shippers against swings in freight rates. Nodal Exchange, a unit of German exchange giant Deutsche Börse AG, plans to debut 11 new futures contracts linked to trucking costs. Futures allow firms to bet on whether the price of an asset will rise or fall, or to hedge against unfavorable price moves. There is an established market for futures-like contracts on ocean freight rates, but Nodal’s trucking futures will be the first of their kind, their creators say.