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Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLT)

have emerged as an effective enterprise transformation

tool. They provide capabilities beyond traditional databases

to share data and manage workflow throughout an

enterprise and across its ecosystem of customers, partners

and suppliers in a trusted manner without central control.

Blockchain for the enterprise is a specialised workflow

automation tool that, when applied properly, is a powerful

cross-enterprise transformation instrument. However, at

CGE's Digital Supply Chain Institute (DSCI), our research

has shown that success stories remain elusive because

of difficulties in forming the blockchain ecosystem or

network, determining network and data governance, and

complying with government data regulations. It is this last

element that forms the basis of this paper.

As with many exciting new technologies, the hype

surrounding blockchain has been extreme and prompted

a tidal wave of company experimentation that has proven

one thing: blockchain is not a good fit for all applications,

but for some it is an exceptional fit. This paper examines

one such exceptional fit for the shipping industry, in the

context of compliance with the European Union's General

Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Many commentators have written that the GDPR and

blockchain technology are fundamentally incompatible.

This paper was prompted by DSCI members who saw this

as a clear inhibitor to blockchain adoption and asked for

our view. We enlisted Slaughter and May and Cravath,

Swaine & Moore LLP, two leading international law firms,

to better define the opportunities and challenges as to how

the GDPR applies to this nascent technology.

Other countries will, undoubtedly, adopt regulations similar

to the GDPR, and hence businesses are unlikely to avoid

privacy compliance issues in the future. We also want to

emphasise that the GDPR is a pressing concern for all

companies, not just B2C companies, as the digital economy

is increasingly making B2C and B2B distinctions fade away.

This paper provides a management framework for

addressing GDPR compliance in a blockchain network.

We examine the power and efficiencies blockchain brings

to the shipping industry, and examine the compliance

challenges created by the GDPR. We conclude that, with

some up-to-date, pragmatic guidance and increased

support from regulatory authorities in Europe, there is no

fundamental reason why the GDPR and many blockchain

solutions cannot happily coexist.

Christopher G. Caine, President

The Center for Global Enterprise


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