Digital currency launched to revoluntionise container shipping business
HONG Kong-based 300 Cubits has come up with a new industry-specific digital "cryptocurrency" that shippers can use to book ocean shipments and could help reduce carrier overbooking and shipper no-shows, which cost the industry some US$23 billion annually.
The company recently introduced the TEU, not the container unit but rather a digital dollar that replaces traditional currencies as the deposit for shipment bookings, providing greater visibility to the booking process and allowing users to penalise bad behaviour. Whereas other tech startups have introduced digital management platforms to achieve the same goals, 300Cubits' founders say they're offering something different: not a place for transaction, but a means of transaction.
The company introduced the new TEU crypto currency to the market, putting some up for sale and giving others away to container lines and shippers "who actively promote the tokens for early adoption." The TEU tokens are blockchain-based, which means they are tethered to a decentralised, distributed digital ledger used to record transactions across many computers so that the record cannot be altered retroactively.
Blockchain is a largely back-end technology, which means there's very little change for the user, both shipper and carrier, according to Johnson Leung, a longtime shipping finance analyst formerly with Jefferies who founded 300Cubits with his partner Jonathan Lee, the Daily Shipping Times of India reported.
In an era marked by the buzzword "disruption," Mr Leung was clear that TEU tokens are not disrupting any existing system or process in the container shipping industry. TEU tokens are like an industry-specific bitcoin, another blockchain-based cryptocurrency. Put simply, Mr Leung said: "We play part of what the dollar does today in container shipping."
Mr Leung's company only provides the means of transaction. It does not provide the actual space for where carriers and shippers can transact, like the New York Shipping Exchange, an online portal through which carrier cargo space can be booked and which also monitors whether the booking is fulfilled by shipper and carrier.