Blockchain and Tokenization for Industry and Services
The Blockchain Technology is said to be one of the most disruptive technology of the decade. It allows mutually mistrusting entities to exchange records on a shared ledger and interact without relying on a trusted third party. A blockchain moreover provides an integrity protected data storage that is much more secure than those stored in centralised servers while at the same time providing for process transparency. These attributes of the Blockchain allow its use in multiple applications in Industry and Services. Any application where interacting parties need to share data but cannot trust a central server can benefit from blockchain applications, thus making it ideal for cross-organizational data exchange.
The Bitcoin was the first application of the Blockchain and since then a large variety of cryptocurrencies were developed with a variety of technical specifications and attributes. Some of these currencies have significantly appreciated in value and have seen increased adoption. Decentralised currencies that can be stored in wallets have the potential to disrupt the Banking Industry. However, the blockchain has a variety of other applications in a diverse range of domains in industry and services.
Blockchain allows for Public Verifiability, Transparency, Data Integrity, Redundancy and a Trusted Anchor. Several projects are in different stages of development that are using this technology to manage Product Related information for Supply Chains and Logistics on a common blockchain that can be accessed by several industrial partners and even the end users. This can greatly increase product trackability, interoperability, and transparency, and a notable example include Hyperledger led by IBM. Startups are also very active in developing Blockchain based supply chains, some examples being Walton Chain that plans to develop an RFID based blockchain tracking system for cross organizational supply chains, and Ambrosus that is developing transparent traceability of Food and Pharmaceuticals.
Blockchains also have the potential to be integrated with Sensor Data and Internet of Things based devices, to automate cross organizational sharing of sensor data, as well as automated trading of sensor information, energy trading, and a variety of other diverse applications.
Blockchains can also allow for trustless conduction of business relationships by allowing parties to store legally binding smart contracts on a blockchain. This could eliminate the need for Escrow Agents, and significantly aid the growth of international business.
Another big development in this space has been the concept of tokenisation and launching of Initial Coin Offerings (ICO) by startups. In the first half of 2017, $1.13 billion were raised by startups through ICOs. Ethereum has developed a platform for creating Smart Contracts on the blockchain, while other projects like Lisk, Stratis and Qtum are creating blockchain based infrastructure over which a new model for building successful and massively scalable applications - ‘Dapps' - can be developed. This could be a promising source of funding for Startups, and an alternate model of investment where both Venture Capitalists as well as Individual Investors can participate. It is very likely that the future of Stock Markets would be crypto-based tokens that represent stocks that can be traded over decentralised exchanges, thus boosting liquidity and integration of global financial systems even further.
Academic work in the blockchain area has mainly focused on the Bitcoin, its technical specifications, and about blockchain applications for cryptocurrencies. The aim of this Special Issue is to address and learn how the Blockchain and Tokenization technologies may impact Industry and Services, and about the need to specify and develop new applications.
Scope of the Special Issue
We invite all authors to submit scientific papers with visionary and disruptive applications of Blockchain and Tokenization technologies on Industry and Services. Submissions may involve real world case studies or research and development of new applications, methods, methodologies, theories, frameworks, on the following topics of interest (but not limited to):
Supply chain management Decentralized planning and control of production and project operations Industry and services big data governance Decentralized and autonomous quality management Transportation and logistics information flows Decision support systems, performance indicators and control Knowledge engineering and management Decentralized Cyber Physical Systems and Internet of Things Sustainable and green industrial and service systems Smart, distributed intelligent factory Dynamic negotiation systems Tokenization of shares and stocks