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.

Art and Blockchain -> SigniChain

What couldn’t sound more different was transformed into a project by Kevin Westphal and Konstantin Graf. As part of an Innovation Programme for Business Models and Pioneering Solutions (IGP), the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy has been funding market-oriented non-technical innovations since 2019. In the first IGP call for proposals in 2020, SMEs were supported in the realisation of individual projects, cooperation projects and network projects in the field of data-driven business models. CHAINSTEP applied for funding in this call for proposals with an individual project called SigniChain and was invited to submit a full proposal as an selected company in June 2020.

The SigniChain project

In the SigniChain project, CHAINSTEP is testing the potential of sensor-based art surveillance with blockchain protection. Art logistics is a specialized branch of the logistics sector that offers professional transport and storage of art and other collectibles under atmospheric and security controlled conditions. However, if sensor data are collected by the logistics service provider during the surveillance, they remain within the logistics provider. At the same time, this data holds the untapped potential to become part of the customer experience when visualized in an appealing way. Furthermore it provides a basis for assessing the perfect condition of the work in expert opinion processes, e.g. when an art object is resold. Last but not least, this data basis could also create trust among art insurers. It is often the insurance company that recommends a suitable art storage facility to the collector.

SigniChain’s approach to the solution involves continuous sensory monitoring of art objects and valuable goods. The collected data is reliably and storage-efficiently secured on a blockchain by way of its hash, the “fingerprint” of the data set. Sensors on the artwork itself continuously register vibrations, atmospheric conditions, location and many other data not only in the warehouse, but from the moment the collector hands over the valuable object. Digital signatures ensure that the data is transmitted to the owner in a tamper-proof manner. Warning messages in the event of critical readings are not only sent to the owner of the artwork, but also immediately documented on the blockchain. This creates a forgery-proof certificate on the blockchain for the storage period, which can be used to prove professional storage when reselling.

SigniChain in the art market

Over the last decade, the art market has increasingly opened up to digital business models. Until recently, however, art logistics has lagged behind this trend towards digital offerings. Although there are well-established digital systems in some areas, for example for the management and archiving of art collections, these are only used by the collector, regardless of the main player in this field, the logistics provider. Similarly, sensor-based monitoring of storage rooms and transport trolleys are also widespread, but only as a local security measure for the logistician.

With SigniChain, CHAINSTEP has already gathered interest from well-known players in art logistics and is planning not only a detailed elaboration of the business model, but also a prototypical implementation at an internationally renowned art logistics company as part of an IGP grant.

Written by Kevin Westphal

Joachim Soergel, Managing Director of inveni portum solutions, and Madjid Tehrani, Blockchain Architect from CHAINSTEP, explain about and discuss some key questions when it comes to the usage of Blockchain for the Maritime Business:

  • What are the recent developments in the area of “Maritime Blockchain”?
  • What values does blockchain add to current technologies for the Maritime Business?
  • How to approach a blockchain project in the Maritime Business?
  • What are the challenges to implement blockchain based solutions?

Below the recording is linked to the Expert Talk.

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


Via Twitter, Grischa Brower-Rabinowitsch, head of external communication and topic management at R+V Versicherung, announced the good news that Kolja Mischok and Roland Schröder from Kravag were honored on December 4, 19, for the project “Corporate Claim Chain” as winners of the special prize “Digital Lighthouse 2019” (the picture above is from the Tweet).

Using the Claim Chain with the Blockchain, transport damages can be regulated much easier. Using a platform based on block chain technology, participants have full control over their data at all times and can control who receives which information when and how, or contribute to the rapid processing of your claims. For all participants, this results in a continuous digital process in which all information is documented in a comprehensible way. Thus, the process costs can be significantly reduced. Further information about the project can be found here.