The project B/LOC (Bills of Lading based on Blockchain) (FKZ 03EFRNI093), which was awarded with a EXIST Transfer of Research funding, is the seamless continuation of the HAPTIK. project, which was previously funded by the BMWi, with the aim of creating a marketable product for digital bills of lading. To this end, the B/LOC team was awarded nearly 1 million euros in funding over a 2-year period.
The bill of lading is the most important document in international maritime trade, where paper is still the number one information carrier. COVID-19 in particular has shown how vulnerable paper-based processes are. The goal of B/LOC is therefore to digitize the bill of lading as an internationally used commodity document in a completely legally secure manner for the first time. A DLT architecture serves as the technical basis. This ensures completely decentralized data storage while maintaining the data sovereignty of the respective companies. Germany is one of the first countries in the world to allow the use of electronic bills of lading with Section 516 (2) of the German Commercial Code (HGB). The team is thus developing the world's first representation of an electronic bill of lading that will stand up in ordinary courts and provide complete legal certainty.
As part of the previous BMWi research project HAPTIK (duration 2019-2021, funding volume approx. 1.4 million euros), the team was able to carry out the legal assessment on the use of electronic bills of lading, data protection assessments and technical evaluations. In the process, it was shown that blockchain technology is to be preferred for digitizing the bill of lading in the form of a private permissioned blockchain. It was also possible to analyze the prima facie existing contradiction between an immutable blockchain and the deletion and modification claims of the GDPR and to resolve it with a concept that provides for one blockchain per bill of lading. In the HAPTIK project, a proof of principle (PoP) was also developed with Hyperledger Fabric as the blockchain and an upstream combination of Java application and web front-end, which basically shows the theoretical implementation of the project. Within the scope of the EXIST Transfer of Research, the prototype implementation in particular is now being revised and a business model is developed.
For this project, an interdisciplinary team has come together from the upstream HAPTIK project.Mr. Thomas Janicki, as project manager of B/LOC, coordinates the project work and controls the data protection and corporate law aspects. Mr. Hauke Precht is responsible in particular for the development work of the back-end and blockchain component, contributing his previous research. Mr. Simon Czapski completes the team with the activity focus on UI/UX development.
Mentor and supervisor of the team is the project leader of HAPTIK, Prof. Dr.-Ing.Jorge Marx Gómez.
In addition, well-known companies have already officially confirmed their interest and support:
- DB Schenker AG
- Voith Group GmbH & Co. KGaA
- DZ Bank AG
- Ems Port Agency & Stevedoring Bet. GmbH & Co. KG (EPAS)