One of shipping’s more high profile early blockchain initiatives has stumbled. Hong Kong-based 300cubits, which created the cleverly titled TEU tokens, has decided to suspend the operation of its booking deposit module from tomorrow. The system, led by ex-JP Morgan analyst Johnson Leung, has been live since March 2018, but failed to get enough commercial traction.
“[T]he transaction volume through the System have been far from commercial. Only a couple hundred containers have gone through the System, which, although may seems plenty among the shipping blockchain projects, is not sufficient to keep the System going commercially,” the company stated in a release, adding: “The lack of clarity in regulatory regimes surrounding digital currencies has proved to be the greatest hurdle in the 300cubits’ marketing efforts. Many potential users simply shied away from trying, being not sure about what regulatory measures the authorities may take.”
A potential partnership with box shipping portal INTTRA was nixed due to regulatory concerns.
The founders of 300cubits also admitted that the lack of liquidity for the TEU tokens and the volatilty of all cryptocurrencies in general had cast a constant doubt among users on whether the value of the tokens could be realised.
300cubits said it will continue with other projects including ship finance. It has also been engaged with a telecommunication company in the Middle East to promote the use of blockchain in the areas of transportation.
Commenting on the news, Copenhagen-based container shipping analyst Lars Jensen wrote on LinkedIn today: “[W]e are getting to the point where the plethora of new freight tech companies launched in recent years is reaching this important cut-off-point in the digitalization of the shipping industry. In essence: Do they show sufficient actual commercial traction warranting further investment, or will they be left by the wayside?”