Executive Briefings

U.S. Maritime Regulators Urged to Understand, Track Blockchain

By design, blockchain resists regulatory oversight, but maritime regulators still need to understand the technological potential of a trail of records that payment and other applications can be built upon and keep an eye on how the industry adopts this, shipping and tech experts argue.

The United States is lagging behind less-developed nations, from Ghana to Russia, who are already monitoring as well as deploying blockchain tech, according to a cross-section of global tech and shipping leaders at a recent forum organized by the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). If there isn't a broad federal-level approach, government agencies need to assume the mantle, experts argue.

"I would encourage everyone in every government agency to get involved, because if they don't get involved and these industries create systems where the government doesn't have visibility into it, if the government can't participate, it will be as if everyone's at the party and we're all at home without a date," said Gerard Dache, president of the nonprofit Government Blockchain Association.

There are still questions over the risks and safe applications of blockchain, which underpins the digital currency bitcoin that hackers demanded when they attacked the Maersk Group last month, grinding the company's shipping and terminal operations to a halt the exact same day as the FMC forum.

Blockchain's bitcoins have become the currency of choice for ransomware attacks, for obvious reasons, said Henrik De Gyor, co-author of Blockchain Billions. "It is decentralized. It is completely trustless. Instead of relying on a bank or some other trusted platform or group, it is completely trustless. It is peer to peer, you to me."

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The United States is lagging behind less-developed nations, from Ghana to Russia, who are already monitoring as well as deploying blockchain tech, according to a cross-section of global tech and shipping leaders at a recent forum organized by the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC). If there isn't a broad federal-level approach, government agencies need to assume the mantle, experts argue.

"I would encourage everyone in every government agency to get involved, because if they don't get involved and these industries create systems where the government doesn't have visibility into it, if the government can't participate, it will be as if everyone's at the party and we're all at home without a date," said Gerard Dache, president of the nonprofit Government Blockchain Association.

There are still questions over the risks and safe applications of blockchain, which underpins the digital currency bitcoin that hackers demanded when they attacked the Maersk Group last month, grinding the company's shipping and terminal operations to a halt the exact same day as the FMC forum.

Blockchain's bitcoins have become the currency of choice for ransomware attacks, for obvious reasons, said Henrik De Gyor, co-author of Blockchain Billions. "It is decentralized. It is completely trustless. Instead of relying on a bank or some other trusted platform or group, it is completely trustless. It is peer to peer, you to me."

Read Full Article