Since summer 2018, CHAINSTEP has been researching blockchain innovation potential for the medium-sized logistics industry as part of the HANSEBLOC consortium together with ten partners from logistics, research and IT as part of the BMBF-funded “KMU-NetC” program. As part of the project conclusion, an in-depth presentation of the blockchain technology behind HANSEBLOC took place in the on December 3, 2020, which we would now also like to publish here. Konstantin Graf, Jan-Christoph Ebersbach, Hartmut Obendorf and Kevin Westphal explain the requirements of the logistics market for a blockchain system and provide an insight into the solutions that were developed in the HANSEBLOC project. In doing so, the speakers will go into technical details of the HANSEBLOC implementation as well as the governance model of HANSEBLOC. If you are interested in an exchange on the topic or would like to get involved in the further development of the HANSEBLOC project, please feel free to contact us.

Written by Konstantin Graf

3rd BVL Webinar

On November 4th we held out third webinar for BVL on the topic of blockchain. This time the focus was on the current fields of application in maritime logistics and how the blockchain itself can improve established processes. Madjid Tehrani and Timo Schneider took up the topic and explained the issues on the basis of use cases and their experience and in the end discussed them with the audience.

Blockchain and established processes

At the beginning the participants were picked up on the topic of blockchain. The concept behind the technology was clearly explained using an example and the knowledge about it was refreshed. Subsequently, new approaches were presented on how distributed ledger technologies can improve established processes and lead to more effectiveness and efficiency. Using the reference model SCOR, which has been in existence since 1996, it was shown how traditional models for increasing supply chain efficiency benefit from new technologies.

Blockchain in the maritime industry

In the second part of the presentation, Madjid outlined the advantages of a decentralized data stream for communication in the maritime industry, among others. First document and information flows are already being managed using blockchain architectures. In the case of sea freight, for example, paper documents can be dispensed with. Further starting points are located in the financial flow and the traceability of goods in real time with high security. It can be summarized that especially in logistics blockchains increase the data quality and enable more trust in digital assets.

On June 3rd 2020 I was honoured to be a panellist at the Crypto Valley Event: Bringing Enterprise Blockchain Solutions Alive. Together with great minds in the Blockchain space we discussed about the key success factors of Blockchain solutions for enterprises and many more ideas. Topics that were discussed:

Key success factors

Benjamin Soh from STACS talked about integrating as many technology platforms as possible to the blockchain. It is important to be able to easily integrate a working platform to a blockchain, so that the blockchain solution can improve instead of interrupt a process. Beat Bannwart from UBS added that to successful you have to solve a real problem to give the end-user an incentive to actually you a new platform. In the process you should focus on the main problem and keep the solution as simple as possible to enhance the chance of an end-user be able to understand how to benefit from the solution. Shi Khai Wei from Longhash Ventures had a different approach to define success factors. He prefers picking the right teams and the right people to be successful. Additionally, the team then has to clearly define a problem and offer a viable solution to actually solve this problem. For him red flags are people creating a solution simply because they are able to do so and not because they have a clearly defined problem that they understand and want to solve.

How to tackle problems

Julian La Picque from Uncrypted described his experience about bringing different parties in a consortium together and work on the same problem. He explained difficulties doing this but ultimately concluded that the network effect was strong and finding a common ground is beneficial. Johannes Hinckeldeyn from the TUHH picked up the idea about the standardisation process and how his institute is tackling problems in supply chains by researching standardisation. Timo Schneider (that’s me) from TUHH and CHAINSTEP added that the standard developing process is in his early stages and problems that can be solved by standards are not defined yet. The blockchain standard I wrote my master thesis about was about location storage on a blockchain. The result was that this standard cannot be used across different blockchain technologies which I pointed out by concluding interoperability is a key success factor for blockchain solutions as well as blockchain standards.

What ist the best team

Johannes Hinckeldeyn added his insights about the role of universities in such consortia. He pointed about that universities are predestined to take the role of a consultant. They don’t focus on economic factors but rather the ideas behind the solution. I added that consortia are a good idea when it comes to new ideas and technologies where expertise is rare and problems are difficult. As soon as ideas mature I concluded that consortia play a less important role and agile companies or start ups are better suited to bring a solution alive. Shi Khai Wei had a slightly different view by saying that it depends mainly on the use case itself. Consortia can be beneficial.

The above-mentioned topics are just a glimpse of the whole discussion, that can be found at the bottom as a video. It was a lively discussion and shares some fundamental thoughts we at CHAINSTEP live and breathe day to day. If you have further ideas or question do not hesitate to mail me at CHAINSTEP or simply get in contact via LinkedIn. I’m always happy to share ideas and talk about future projects.

Written by Timo Schneider

 

For almost three years it was on the agenda at CHAINSTEP: in the Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg regular events belong to “Business Blockchain” with a focus on logistics and supply chain management. For COBILITY and with our partners and customers, we have already held various events at the hub, but it was IBM that gave us the impetus for our first Hub meetup (in this case together with IBM) on our core topic – Business Blockchain.

Title of the event: “Blockchain in real life.” A good fifty participants ensured a well-filled Meetup Room. After the welcome by Johannes Berg, Managing Director of Digital Hub Logistics Hamburg, Christan Schultze-Wolters, IBM Business Unit Manager Blockchain Solutions D-A-CH, gave an interesting overview of the various activities within the IBM Food Trust Initiative. The charts are available here.

Afterwards, three members of the HANSEBLOC consortium (Sovereign Speed, Kühne Logistik Universität (KLU) and CHAINSTEP) explained the state of development of the BMBF-funded project. Click here for the presentation and here for the project page.

After the presentations there were several questions from the interested audience. A nice get-together with finger food and drinks rounded off what we believe was a successful event.

For CHAINSTEP this was the starting signal for further Meetups around Business Blockchain. We are planning events on the blockchain-based ecosystems that are currently being created for the maritime industry, on our previous customer projects and on other current funded projects. At the request of many of the participants of the Meetup on 25 February, we will also be holding a basic event “Getting Started with Business Blockchain”, where participants will have the opportunity to discuss their questions about the use of the blockchain with experts after an introduction to the topic.

Subscribe to the CHAINSTEP newsletter here, register with the Meetup Group Innovationsforum Hamburg or keep up to date via the Digital Hub Logistics website.



On Oct 22 Blockchain was the main topic at the Bremen Cotton Exchange. Leonard Pust (BitMoin) and Jan Christoph Ebersbach, Head of Blockchain Engineering (CHAINSTEP), organized a training and workshop day together for the first time. The participants were as enthusiastic as we were. The combination of training and workshop in one day efficiently combined theory and practice and concrete next steps could be defined.

At 8.30 a.m. we took a courageous step into the paternoster in the historic building of the Cotton Exchange, directly on Bremen’s market square. The journey to the 5th floor was a problem-free one, but we had to get in and out of the car. The stop was a good foretaste of our event. Right at the top of the cotton exchange, in the impressive tower hall, we trained the basics and applications of blockchain technology from 9 am to 12.30 pm. From 1 p.m. the number of participants was reduced and the use of Blockchain in the promotional project “Room for Innovation, Blockchain for GMO sizing of organic cotton” was worked on. Lots of material for little time.

What was particularly remarkable for me was that the Cotton Exchange opened up the circle of participants for training and invited companies and organisations that did not participate in the project. In this way, the Blockchain Fundamentals could be made accessible to a wider audience and ideas and questions could be raised beyond the scope of the project.

In the second part of the day, after the lunch break, we applied the Blockchain theory to the project in a small group with the partners of the project. Both our technical architectural knowledge of the corporate use of blockchain and our experience in developing business models with blockchain were in demand. The next step is to put the ideas on paper and obtain feedback.

Article by Jan Christoph (JC) Ebersbach

For the 2nd COBILITY Workshop 30 participants met this time to talk about two concrete Use Cases: “smart load carriers” and “dangerous goods transport” can be used. The diversity of the participating companies was particularly exciting in the group work.

The next steps already have been decided. On the one hand, the topic “dangerous goods transport” will be discussed with the working group of the DSLV, on the other hand, the participants in the load carrier workshop have worked out that it makes sense to find out the cooperation potentials with the GS1 pallet project from the year 2018.

After this important milestone, we are now starting the further development of the COBILIT organisation.


 

The German government is pushing ahead with the development of its blockchain strategy. On the one hand, institutions and companies had the opportunity until the end of March 2019 to present their views on fields of application and challenges with regard to technology as well as economic, ecological and legal issues at an “Online Consultation for the Development of the Federal Government’s Blokchain Strategy”.
In addition, the Federal Ministry of Finance invited around 30 experts to a “Workshop on Blockchain Technology” at Bundesdruckerei on 26 March. Photos were not permitted during the workshop – for security reasons, the cameras of all smartphones and computers were masked before entering the well-secured premises.Participants were also asked not to disclose any details of the workshop to the outside world.
The clearly positive attitude of the experts on the part of the authorities was pleasing. During the discussions about potentials, limits and applications of blockchain technology, it became clear that in many areas (open) standards, interoperability and governance structures are gaining in relevance.
The “Workshop on Blockchain Technology” of the Federal Ministry of Finance was a sensible and, in our opinion, a good step towards the formulation of a future-oriented blockchain strategy of the Federal Government.

As in the previous year, CHAINSTEP had the opportunity to host a Blockchain MasterClass at the IT Strategy Days. The tickets for the 90-minute event, which was deliberately held on a small scale, were quickly sold out. The Blockchain MasterClass of 2019 was divided into three sections:

First, Jan Christoph Ebersbach from CHAINSTEP offered an introduction to the Blockchain technology. He focused on the importance of blockchain for different industries and emphasized the possibility of novel services as well as the importance of data sovereignty. He rounded off his presentation with a short presentation on current blockchain alliances, followed by Professor Dr. Ing. Volker Skwarek from HAW. He placed the importance of blockchain technology in the context of the development of the Internet protocol. He put it in a nutshell: “Blockchain links data with meaning. Blockchain is the Internet of the future.” The listeners were also particularly interested in the explanation of the different Blockchain variants in the second part of his lecture.

Markus Olszok from the Kroschke Group in Ahrensburg gave the third lecture on the “carTRUST” project for which he was responsible. Under the motto “Simply register, manage and sell vehicles online” he presented the idea for carTRUST. The current approval system is not scalable, blockchain and digitization can be the solution to make processes much simpler and faster. Finally there was a short demo of CarTRUST.

The presentations of CHAINSTEP and on  carTRUST you find below. Professor Dr. Ing. Volker Skwarek has not released his presentation. The MasterClass was recorded via video, the video is also linked below.

 

 

A high-ranking visitor to the Digital Hub Logistics: on 7 December 2018, Michael Westhagemann, the Senator for Economic Affairs in office just a few weeks ago, visited the innovation factory for logistics in Hamburg’s Speicherstadt warehouse district. Johannes Berg, Managing Director of the Hub, surprised our guest with a gift: “Senator Westhagemann will receive an “honorary job” at the Digital Hub Logistics for 2019. The gift was well received, as this tweet shows:

On behalf of all the “Hubbers”, I think I can say that we enjoyed the humorous speech by Senator Westhagemann that followed. His interest in and obvious pleasure in technology, as evidenced by his many years of top management experience in the IT environment, is certainly an excellent basis for Hamburg’s further development of innovative, technology-supported topics.

Senator Westhagemann then took an impressive amount of time to present various start-up concepts. CHAINSTEP had the opportunity to jointly present to the Kroschke Group (a leading service provider in the field of vehicle registration) the jointly developed prototype “carTRUST” for blockchain-based secure online registration of motor vehicles. Senator Westhagemann was very interested in the idea of piloting the concept for the first time in Hamburg – also with a view to the ITS World Congress 2021. Next steps have already been discussed, we are very curious whether we can manage it :-).

At the Digital Summit in 2018, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology clearly focused on artificial intelligence. Since the Bitkom did not want to ignore blockchain technology, the association organized a blockchain business summit on the first day of the digital summit at the same location as the summit, i.e. in the Nuremberg exhibition halls. The popularity of the event, which the organizer was right to hold with the Blockchain event, was confirmed: well over 300 participants informed themselves about the possibilities that Blockchain technology already offers today in the corporate environment.

Dr. Nussbaum, State Secretary in the BMWi, and Dr. Rohleder, Managing Director of Bitkom, opened the event. Afterwards there were some top-class lectures from different IT and telecommunications service providers as well as from the scientific side. The lecture by Professor Dr. Volker Skwarek, who is also a member of CHAINSTEP’s advisory board, on the topic of Smart Contracts Industry 4.0 Applications was well received.

Together with Thomas Müller, CEO of evan.network, we had the opportunity to present the initiative COBILITY. The presentation is linked here. The following discussions at the “Meet the speakers” booth showed how high the interest of professional IT and telecommunication service providers is to understand and use the possibilities of decentralized governance.

Below you finde some impressions of the event as well as the link to the video of the COBILITY part.