Greater ChinaTech

Early shipping blockchain pioneer sinks

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?”

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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