Global Trade Battlegrounds & the Technology to Change Them
As the world’s two largest economies gear up for a trade war, latest news reminds us that technology can still play a pivotal role in how the general people reduces their fiscal exposure to matters in the hands of the state.
As the United States and China mobilize for what appears to be a trade war; the reality is that the populations of both suffer the ramifications of their governments’ trade policies.
On US soil, the effects of the China-US trade deficits and wars have rocked many industries to their cores. In many cases, some industries have just dried up. U.S. manufacturing, as measured by the number of jobs, declined 34 percent between 1998 and 2010. In China, it is no different. The effects of trade result in a lower standard of living, which allows companies in China to pay lower wages to workers.
While trade disputes in their current form are isolated, experts believe that should it continue its impact would be felt globally. While most of the world’s economy is still recovering from the financial setback of 2008, countries like Britain would be “huge losers” should a trade war actually occur.
The core issue remains that both general populations are exposed to the negligence of their supporting states and governments. While the balance of global power shifts, so should the responsibilities of every human being, agnostic of national and/or political affiliations. As trade struggles continue to surge due to government-driven “fist fights,” so should the drive to solve these issues with technology. Enabling the shift of responsibilities of global trade away from one body such as a private institution, state, or general population.
While blockchain technologies have not yet become mature enough in terms of stabilization and volatility, the viability of them seems a logical next step in resolving current trade affairs; once they have reached an adequate state of maturity in the market.
How does that next step happen? It is already happening! SWIFT recently added 22 global banks to its cross-border blockchain project and startups like SilkChain are beginning to solve for global trade problems with the world’s first blockchain project dedicated to improving international trade.
In addition to SilkChain and SWIFT, here are emerging technologies that are on the tip of the spear when it comes to revolutionizing global trade:
- Abra, a digital wallet that can be used to send funds, in addition to investing, allowing it to act as a cryptocurrency bank, of sorts. The app is now available to users in any country, who can use one of the 50 fiat currencies, as well as credit cards and bank transfers to fund their accounts.
- Blockshipping, a blockchain based GSCP platform is the world’s first freight container registry and the first global platform allowing all players in the shipping industry to perform a wide range of transactions related to the handling of containers.
- Eximchain, a technology that enables businesses to connect, transact, and share information more efficiently and securely. Using blockchain technology, Eximchain eliminates traditional supply chain barriers and integrates actors big and small into an inclusive, transparent, and secure global network.
- Flexport, a freight forwarding company headquartered in San Francisco, is modernizing global trade through a combination of software and human expertise. It provides its clients with real-time shipment tracking, analytics, and a proactive issue management solution that helps businesses to transport their cargo around the world efficiently.
- Provenance, a technology that brings trustworthy information to retail. Powered by mobile, blockchain and open data, it’s game-changing software enables retailers and producers to open product data, track the journey of goods, and empower customers with access to knowledge.
Despite it’s stage, Blockshipping’s ability to extend its blockchain to also produce a cryptocurrency, CPT or container platform token, provides significant potential in the unification of global trade. Their CPT allows for clearing and settlement of transactions between the users of the platform. Resulting in faster currency settlement, the avoidance of banking fees and exposure to risk in exchange rate fluctuations.
While this technology remains frontier, the key ingredients for the market’s adoption of these technologies on a global-level will be collaboration. Most importantly, the transparency that results from that collaboration. For example, SilkChain has already brought in 231 organisations in more than 25 countries to unify global trade. Moreover, the cross collaboration between private, public, and state authorities will be pivotal in ensuring the volatility of “whatever currency” would unify global trade.
In conclusion, while “the people” are still at the liberty/mercy of their respective governments. We remain socially responsible for pushing the boundaries of fiscal oppressions within a legal and morally sound way. As a planet, we are at the intersection of traditional policies and their relevance in a digitally-first world. Moreover, the borders and lines that once segregated us have become less relevant as bigger senses of community drive diversity worldwide. As those people, continuing to innovate and leveraging the technologies at hand must be at the forefront of our endeavours in order to eradicate old ways of business negatively impact our lives, and world.