In 2013, the word ‘blockchain’ began popping up in the Money section of newspapers across the world alongside a more recognizable and controversial word—Bitcoin. Do a quick Google search and both terms end up seeming simultaneously complex and vague, with a level of abstracticity that makes empirical use seem nonexistent. Seeing the words side-by-side so often has made the two words seemingly interchangeable, but the technology is simply the foundational system on which Bitcoin is built, and thus can and is used for a variety of other applications.
Engadget reports that Samsung is considering adopting a blockchain-based system to keep track of its product shipments. Being the largest smartphone manufacturer in the world, Samsung distributes tens of millions of dollars worth of shipments every years, so efficiency within their shipping technology is as important as the technology within the products themselves. “[The new system] will have an enormous impact on the supply chains of manufacturing industries,” claims Song Kwang-woo, blockchain chief and vice president at Samsung SDS Co. ““Blockchain is a core platform to fuel our digital transformation.”
Separate the term ‘blockchain’ from the word ‘Bitcoin’ and it becomes a little simpler. Essentially, blockchain is a network of computers, or ‘nodes,’ who share a history of transactions that are validated by its users. So when a transaction occurs, instead of running your debit card and having the transactional information go to your bank, it becomes coded through cryptography and spread throughout the network. This method of recording, verifying, and sharing information would make shipping easier for Samsung by eliminating a lot of paperwork and expediting the process of scheduling with port authorities.
The switch to blockchain in the shipping industry could make each step of distribution run significantly smoother and faster. Samsung has yet to release any sort of timeframe, but the tech world is eagerly looking on.