United Nations division considers using blockchain for supply chains

12 June 2018

The United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business published a white paper for public review seeking to understand if blockchain technology and smart contracts may be used to achieve its key missions and benefit businesses and organizations.

According to the white paper, the Centre is focusing on smart contracts, electronic process of notarizing documents and decentralized coordination of the flows instead of blockchain’s major role in supporting cryptocurrencies.

The body studies the blockchain technology for its ability to help in the transition from conventional paper-based workflows, while shifting from the dependence on the traditional structures currently used to administer supply chains.

According to the white paper, certain types of data may be efficiently transferred using blockchains, which includes insurance, invoices, consignment and shipping documents, while the distributed ledgers controlled by the regulators may also store some permits and declarations.

On the side of the challenges faced by organizations and businesses in adopting blockchain technologies, the body lists the problem of supporting the standards followed by UN/CEFACT. Besides, the body believes that many blockchains are far from being equal, when it comes to the level of trust to be placed by the participants.

Meantime, the paper authors make a suggestion that the organization will be further cooperating with the national delegations and experts over pushing forward dedicated specifications required to get more clarity and standardization for the emerging technology.

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