Have you heard of Blockchain technology? I’m sure you’ve heard of Bitcoin. Blockchain is the technology that makes Bitcoin work. Here’s a good video that explains it in 4 levels of understanding, from a child to an adult. Very simply, blockchain technology is a system of continuous growing records (contracts for the purposes of this article) that are immutable. That is, they cannot be changed because of the complex cryptograghy.
Once the success of Bitcoin was studied, tech experts discovered that the blockchain that actually made it work, can be duplicated across other sectors of our economy. It takes away the trust factor that is required to conduct business. The middleman will be eliminated with blockchain. But what does this have to do with trucking? Or ELDs?
I recently had a discussion with Leo Shrayber, CEO of Truck Trust, a company that wants to democratize and decentralize trucking through utilization of the blockchain. Leo stated, “the ELD mandate may be a blessing in disguise for truckers. The ELD can be all the ‘trust’ needed to get new shippers.” Leo predicts it to happen like this: the ELD data can be broadcast to shippers nearby of truck availability, real time hours of service and safety/compliance records. Once the data stream has been established on the blockchain, anyone participating can see your immutable record of service and compliance. Shippers won’t need a list of carrier references because the immutable record of the carrier is clearly displayed in the blockchain. This would make the small fleet and single owner-operator models very profitable and more competitive with the large fleets.
We will also see blockchain technology in truck insurance. The industry is forecasted to go to a usage based model. Insurance companies will be able to retrieve data from our ELDs on when and how we drive. When the truck is parked, no charge. If you've ever seen Flo from Progressive Insurance talk about the "Snapshot" program - that's a usage based insurance program. Furthermore, fraud adds a huge cost to insurance. Blockchain tech will inform insurance companies of actual risks and eliminate almost all fraud as the immutable information is streamed into the blockchain.
There are many major changes coming to trucking. The limitless freedom that we once enjoyed will never return. Even though I enjoyed the limitless freedom, it had a downside. It allowed companies to operate illegally and add to the cost of doing business. We’ve all had to pay for the sins of unsafe companies and drivers as Big Brother administers justice with a “one size fits all” system. I’m hoping Blockchain Technology will reduce this.