Industry giants and major economies alike have recently announced plans to integrate blockchain technology into their ecosystems, in a bid at increasing efficiency, transparency and data integrity. Meanwhile, FinTech solutions have been receiving equal attention from market players, with major companies such as Uber, Google and Amazon moving into the realm of financial services.
Business Insider has recently reported that Coke One North America (CONA), the IT firm behind Coca Cola’s bottling process, will be implementing the use of a blockchain platform developed by software provider SAP to manage its supply chain. CONA currently manages a platform which oversees the several stages of operations of approximately 160,000 orders of Coca-Cola daily, however the involvement of intermediaries and multiparty transactions renders the process inefficient. The company aims to implement a distributed ledger through which the various parties involved in the supply chain can view all the transactions occurring in real-time, which should reduce the time it takes to process an order from 50 days to a couple of days, while also saving costs.
Uber has announced the launch of Uber Money, a financial services team which will be providing financial products and technologies. Uber intends to give all of its 4 million drivers access to financial services, including access to a bank account, which they might have been traditionally excluded from in countries such as India where cash is still the most popular means of payment, since many citizens do not have access to traditional financial services. In the coming weeks, Uber drivers can start making use of the Uber Wallet which allows transaction tracking and online payments. This service will eventually be available on the Uber application and the Uber Eats application in 2020. Uber is also reintroducing the Uber Credit Card in collaboration with Barclays Bank, which consumers can apply for to benefit from rewards in Uber Cash. The card provides 5% back in Uber Cash from spending on the Uber platform such as Uber Rides and Uber Eats. The Uber Debit Account will also be updated to allow drivers to have real-time access to their earnings instantly after their trips, and will also be made accessible from the Uber Driver app. The Uber Debit Card will also provide cash backs on purchases such as gas at 3%-6%.
Customs Clearance in China and US
The Chinese government has announced plans to integrate blockchain technology in cross-border trade in Hangzhou. The region currently handles $37.4 billion of imports and exports annually, and has already experienced rapid growth through digitization, with claims that the time to process imports has reduced from 191 hours to 27 hours. In an effort at improving data integrity and transparency, the new project will see data from customs clearance, exchanges, duty, transportation and payments being stored on a blockchain.
Meanwhile in the U.S., in a report by the Commercial Customs Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) published last August, the U.S. government revealed plans for integrating blockchain technology in international trade. Now, it has been announced that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection will be tracking oil and natural gas imports from Canada on blockchain. The Canadian Blockchain firm Mavennet Systems will be developing a blockchain platform which will enable Customs to track natural gas and oil trading at the Canadian border. The firm will receive initial funding of $182,700 to develop a proof-of-concept demo which will be piloted for around two years before field testing.
Crypto Payment Acceptance in Switzerland
Payment infrastructure provider Worldline and crypto-financial services company Bitcoin Suisse have announced that they have signed a letter of intent for a partnership to enable cryptocurrency payment services in Switzerland both online and in-store. Worldline’s network of 85,000 Swiss merchants will enable retailers to accept payment in cryptocurrencies through SIX Payment Services which Worldline acquired in 2018, with Bitcoin Suisse acting an intermediary converting cryptocurrency into Swiss francs. This will provide for an efficient and streamlined method of payment, while merchants will also be avoiding conversion risk. Further details will be revealed at the upcoming Swiss Payments Forum in Zurich.