According to recent reports, the big boys of the oil industry have teamed up to create a blockchain-feuled platform, to replace the old paper intensive method called the bill of lading. These giants include BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Statoil to name but three.


How would blockchain integration better the tried and tested? With the bill of lading, sea captains are tasked with the maintenance of a piece of paper that keeps a record of all transactions. These transactions indicate the ownership of millions of dollars worth of crude oil barrels kept on these ships called tankers. Generally, transactions are recorded on a daily basis.


That said, between a living breathing human sea captain, a piece of paper and millions of dollars in raw oil. I think its safe to say, a lot could happen. As it stands today, these ships are responsible for 50% of the worlds oil demand of $2.7billion(approximately R31 billion) per day. With the world’s thirst for oil has already reached record levels, the demand for these ships is also on the rise.


Taking into consideration all the flaws associated with the old paper method, the worst of which is the high fraud risk, one might ask themselves why this wasn’t thought of sooner. Upgrading to a distributed ledger would do a lot of good like encrypted security, lowering costs, greater accuracy and time-saving. The piloted version has already reduced the time it takes to verify transactions from hours to a few minutes.

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As is the case with a lot of new technologies, there is the aspect of losing the human touch. By that I mean, the people usually trusted with this work might be out of a job soon.

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Joel Bonga

Joel is a believer in the potential of blockchain technology and finds crypto trading quite exciting. He is also a cofounder of Existence Digital, a technology distribution company.

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