UPS To Use Blockchain Technology For Packages


With an average of between 50,000 and around 175,000 trades-per-day—with a high of 14,000,000—14-million—Bitcoin relies heavily on blockchain to both manage the logistics and keep the ledger of the 16.7 million Bitcoins currently mined and available to trade.

Compare that to the ~28 million packages that UPS will deliver this December 20th and the 15.8 million packages that they deliver on an average day. If blockchain is secure and durable enough to manage the logistics and ledger of Bitcoin, then blockchain surely has passed the audition to convince United Parcel Service that blockchain—also known as distributed ledger technology (DLT)—may be the best solution to keep track of all the information associated with package movement, transportation plans, and destination.

According to Bitcoinist, UPS has filed a US Patent & Trademark Office application. According to the abstract:

Systems and methods are provided for the automated determination and facilitation of a transportation plan for transporting a shipment unit containing at least one shipment unit through one or more transportation networks corresponding to one or more carriers. An exemplary method comprises receiving and storing in a distributed ledger service offers for transporting a shipment unit; receiving and storing in a distributed ledger shipment unit data comprising an origin, a destination, and transportation parameters; matching service offers stored in the distributed ledger to the shipment unit data to generate a transportation plan for transporting the shipment unit in accordance with the shipment unit data, each service offers corresponding to a leg of the transportation plan, receiving and storing in the distributed ledger an indication of completion of a particular leg of the transportation plan, and causing payment of an entity for transporting the shipment unit along the particular leg.

Blockchain technology is powerful and broadly-applicable. Supply chains, loyalty rewards, digital IDs, data sharing, copyright protection, voting, real estate listings and transfers, food safety, medical record-keeping, and—of course—tracking shipping.

While blockchain may well have been developed by Satoshi Nakamoto as a decentralized ledger of all Bitcoin transactions across a peer-to-peer network, the digital, decentralized ledger technology that came out of it—blockchain—has proven to possibly be the invention that will be remembered as more important than Bitcoin.