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The financial industry is experimenting with block chain technology, a kind of decentralized electronic cash book. The first applications are about to be introduced, but the big success is not yet in sight.

WAITING FOR THE REVOLUTION

Blockchain can make parts of the banking business faster, cheaper and easier. Blythe Masters, a former JP Morgan banker who now heads the start-up Digital Asset Holdings, speaks of savings of 30 to 50 percent. 

The company wants to improve the processing of securities transactions and use blockchain. 

The so-called clearing is an area on which the industry is concentrating its blockchain experiments - in addition to issuing bonds and international payment transactions. 

A joint pilot project of Deutsche Börse and the Bundesbank has shown that the technology works, but is rather slow due to the decentralized coordination process.

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Blockchain can make parts of the banking business faster, cheaper and easier. Blythe Masters, a former JP Morgan banker who now heads the start-up Digital Asset Holdings, speaks of savings of 30 to 50 percent. The company wants to improve the processing of securities transactions and use blockchain. The so-called clearing is an area on which the industry is concentrating its blockchain experiments - in addition to issuing bonds and international payment transactions. A joint pilot project of Deutsche Börse and the Bundesbank has shown that the technology works, but is rather slow due to the decentralized coordination process. However, it is trade finance in particular which, according to experts, could benefit from the use of block chaining, as the processes have so far been time-consuming and expensive. "Blockchain technology can develop its advantages above all where it is important to bring together as many participants as possible who should receive certain information at the same time," says Patrick Pohl, who is responsible for SME products at Deutsche Bank. In trade finance, these are the importer's and exporter's banks, insurance companies, port and customs authorities. "If the Blockchain replaces everything that has been done on paper in trade finance up to now, then we will have advanced to the Champions League",

THE PATH OF THE CONTAINER

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The container's route around the world is easier to track with block chain technology. This saves time and money. According to logistics experts, one area in particular in the real economy is ripe for a new start: the international transport of goods and preliminary products, so-called supply chain management. "A logistics chain is nothing more than a sequence of transactions," explains Siegel. For example, a rubber seal produced in China has to be shipped from the factory to a container in the port of Shanghai, from there to a ship bound for Europe, in Rotterdam to a freight car and in Mannheim to a truck before it reaches the medium-sized company in the Allgäu region.

A lot can go wrong

Exchanged pallets and lost containers are among the biggest annoyances in logistics. And even if everything goes well: Since every further transport, every unloading and reloading of the pallet must be documented, the process is slow and error-prone due to the many players in different countries. The solution is in the block chain. If the pallet in question were linked to a digital image in the block chain, all trading partners and transporters would be able to trace their location in the global flow of goods. For example, the pallet with the rubber seals could be provided with a QR code, which is scanned during each reloading process - whether in Asia or Europe - and the location is then automatically recorded in the database.

Solution not conceivable without blockchain

If a single actor, such as the Chinese producer, were to set up a central transport register, the scepticism of SMEs would probably be great. And the shipping company might not even be able to participate due to a lack of IT know-how. "This is the advantage of the blockchain: It belongs to nobody, is technically easy to set up and functions without extensive maintenance. It brings together all those involved in the transport, but nobody can manipulate it arbitrarily. The Deloitte partner admits that there is a weakness here too: if the dock worker in Shanghai simply scans the wrong pallet, even the best blockchain will produce incorrect results. "Block Chains are no substitute for human thought. but it can speed up a slow process.

DATA WITHOUT BANK

A bank no longer needs WFP for individual accounts. Accounting now takes over the blockchain, saving WFP 98 percent of the fees - that's 140,000 US dollars a month. Once a week, WFP collectively transfers the amounts due for the purchases stored in the block chain to the supermarket owner. "We have replaced the banks as intermediaries,".  Not only does WFP save money, it also secures its finances, especially donations and tax money. Because especially in crisis regions, banks could fail and the money would be gone.
the financial industry and beyond
For former investment banker Haddad, the block chain is "revolutionary" because it replaces the powerful actors who previously had to vouch for the correctness of the content. "Imagine the Block Chain as a Google document that many people can work on at the same time," says Haddad . The co-workers trusted Google to show the same result to everyone. Thanks to the blockchain, they no longer have to rely on one company as a central data store. WFP plans to expand the payment system to 500,000 refugees soon. In the future, they want to get more humanitarian organisations interested in the technology and take it to other countries. In Haddad's view, however, accounts should not be the only thing. With Blockchain one could also manage many other aid projects. Banking is only the beginning for him.

SMART CONTRACTS

The company has developed a system whereby grain deliveries automatically trigger payment upon arrival at the wholesaler. She and her co-founders were tired of often having to wait far too long for their money after deliveries. The system is based on Blockchain, the technology on which Bitcoin is based. Weston is now also marketing the idea in Canada. There are other pioneers in the field. In January 2018, for the first time, a shipload of soybeans shipped from the USA to China was handled via a blockchain. Other areas of application for farmers include recording land rights and controlling sources of supply, such as seeds.

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