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Reference no. A04-18-0010
Published by:
Thunderbird School of Global Management (2018)
Revision date:
6 pages
Data source:
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This case study focuses on the application of blockchain by multinationals to improve trusted transactions in their supply chains. Specifically, the case considers how blockchain became a strategic priority for IBM and how they developed for, and collaborated with, large multinationals to encourage blockchain's adoption. IBM believed they found a new growth opportunity when employee Jerry Cuomo and other IBM technologists dug deeply into the secure and decentralized ledger that powered cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Similar to open-source software, IBM saw widespread potential for blockchain technology outside of the currency it powered. Convinced of blockchain's potential, and encouraged by the engineering advancements achieved within the Hyperledger Project (IBM's blockchain platform developed with Linux), IBM turned to creating use-cases for the technology. In August 2018, IBM and Maersk announced the creation of TradeLens, which was the result of a year-long trial that captured over 150 million shipping events to understand ledger efficiency, turnaround time improvements, and cost savings. Early results from the initiative highlighted actions as common as locating a shipping container at any given point could go from requiring multiple steps and people to one step and one person. The firms anticipated this blockchain-enabled solution would drive more efficiency and security into global trade going forward.

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