UPS files blockchain patent

May 28, 2019

United Parcel Service is the world’s largest package delivery company and like many other firms in the logistics and transportation area, it is taking advantage of the opportunities created by blockchain technology.

UPS has actually gone one better, filing a patent for a blockchain tracking system it hopes will one day also be able to accept crypto currencies.

According to documents published by the US Patent & Trademark Office, the patent uses blockchain and distributed ledger technology to route packages throughout an international supply chain that may include multiple carriers.

Once a package has been scanned at a packaging facility, the software will choose a route based on the fastest delivery using its network of shipping providers.  As the package travels to its destination, information about the shipment will be recorded in a shared ledger.

By one estimate, international shipping is a $1.5 trillion a year global industry, fuelled in part by the growth of online retailers like Amazon. This has increased pressure for faster more reliable delivery and a reduction in fraud. In the US alone, the FBI estimates that approximately $30 billion in goods are stolen each year.

UPS hopes blockchain will help in this area because it creates a tamper proof record of the journey of a package.  UPS is one of the world’s largest customs brokers and the patent also includes the promise of accepting virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

UPS has also joined an industry group called the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA), a forum for the development of blockchain standards and education for the freight industry.

This is another example of how blockchain technology is energizing business processes.

UPS is a component of the Harvest Brand Leaders Plus Income ETF (TSX: HBF, HBF.U). Many of the companies involved in creating logistics and transportation software used in blockchain applications can be found in the Harvest managed  Blockchain Technologies ETF ( TSX:HBLK)

For more on Harvest Portfolio Group Inc. ETFs click here.

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