For our last 2021 trend blog, we will look at how our predictions for blockchain have developed over the year. As a reminder, in this 2021 trends blog, we said that blockchain would become more prevalent in supply chain management and logistics overall.

What we found is that while the trend did move in that direction, we feel like we are at the end of the year, and many in our industry are still saying “we need to do that” when it comes to using blockchain to reduce confusion, increase efficiency, and provide more a more secure supply chain.

However, we recognize that revolutionizing a global industry while it’s still trying to keep up with a raging pandemic is a tough ask. Let’s take a look at what has happened and where we think blockchain in logistics is going.

In this November 2021 article from Bloomberg, several industry experts from across the globe talk about how the global finance and logistics industries are hindered by over-reliance on paper. Both industries must catch up if they want to have any kind of efficiency.

“The Asia Development Bank last month warned that the global trade finance gap rose 15% to $1.7 trillion in 2020 and say solutions include global standards and legislation for the digitalization of trade’s eco-system which would generate data, increase transparency, improve interoperability and ultimately boost access to trade finance,” the article reads. “Meanwhile, a report this month from HSBC economists titled “Smart Supply Chains” said manufacturers are going to deploy “internet of things” technology to, among other things, track inventory in real time and monitor equipment so they know when a machine is likely to go down.”

According to this article from Techment in July 2021, another major development in blockchain (again, pushed by COVID), is that public companies are starting to embrace the trend.

“In 2014, startups were the only companies who were enduring in blockchain, but its share fell to 33% in 2020 with more public companies coming to the fray to engage in projects, as well as consortia and government initiatives. Come (2021), public companies account for the majority at 40% of all projects,” the article reads.

The article also talks about how logistics is the second biggest adapter of blockchain behind grocery/agriculture.

“Freight/Logistics is the second-largest sector accounting for 17% of all projects. The complexity of moving products simply makes blockchain indispensable on account of risk of frauds, errors and more,” according to the article.

This article in Forbes agrees that logistics/supply chain have become heavy adopters but bitcoin technology remains the top vision people have when discussing blockchain.

“In supply chain management … the focus is on allowing a set number of known parties to conduct transactions with one another directly while improving security, ensuring contract compliance and reducing costs. Instead of coins, supply chain blockchains ‘tokenize’ a variety of transaction-related data, creating unique and readily verifiable identifiers for purchase orders, inventory units, bills of lading, etc.,” the article reads.

We foresee that blockchain will become not only more adapted over time, but that it will become prevalent. Our industry can’t afford to not make that happen.