UPS Eyes Blockchain in Bid to Track Global Shipping Data

Shipping giant UPS has filed for a new patent that uses blockchain as part of a distributed system for sending packages worldwide.

Aug 20, 2018 at 2:00 a.m. UTC
Updated Sep 13, 2021 at 8:17 a.m. UTC

Shipping giant UPS has filed for a new patent that uses blockchain as part of a distributed system for sending packages worldwide.

The patent application, published on Aug. 16 by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), further reveals the company's interest in using blockchain to re-envision how shipments move around the world.

Entitled "Autonomous services selection system and distributed transportation database(s)," the concept involves storing numerous types of data within a distributed ledger network, including information about a package's destination, its movement and transportation plans for shipment units.

As CoinDesk previously reported, UPS joined a transportation-focused blockchain consortium in 2017 and has even hinted at the idea of accepting bitcoin through a proposed system of item-exchange lockers.

Notably, UPS suggests using more than one distributed ledger in an effort to track a range of shipment orders, "each providing varying information/data regarding respective asset types (e.g., shipment units and/or associated shipment units)."

"Thus, certain embodiments enable tracking of a first set of shipment units and a second set of shipment units associated with the first set of shipment units separately, thereby enabling the use of various smart contracts relating to shipping services and shipment unit handling in a bifurcated manner," the company wrote.

That the company would look at different ways to enhance the process through which it moves shipments around the world is perhaps unsurprising, given its scale. UPS shipped more than 5 billion packages and documents last year, according to its website, earning $54 billion in revenue.

Image via Shutterstock

The Festival for the Decentralized World
Thursday - Sunday, June 9-12, 2022
Austin, Texas
Save a Seat Now

DISCLOSURE

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

The leader in news and information on cryptocurrency, digital assets and the future of money, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups. As part of their compensation, certain CoinDesk employees, including editorial employees, may receive exposure to DCG equity in the form of stock appreciation rights, which vest over a multi-year period. CoinDesk journalists are not allowed to purchase stock outright in DCG.

Trending

1
CoinDesk - Unknown
It’s Not Just LUNA. Terra’s DeFi Apps Have Hemmorhaged $28B

Investors have largely exited the Terra ecosystem – now evident in DeFi protocols on the blockchain – and analysts remain skeptical about its long-term prospects.

Investors have largely exited the Terra ecosystem – now evident in DeFi protocols on the blockchain – and analysts remain skeptical about its long-term prospects.

CoinDesk - Unknown
2
CoinDesk - Unknown
Crypto Should Meet Same Norms as Regular Finance, G7 Says

Finance ministers want to see financial stability and money-laundering standards in effect soon, citing recent market turmoil.

Finance ministers want to see financial stability and money-laundering standards in effect soon, citing recent market turmoil.

CoinDesk - Unknown
3
CoinDesk - Unknown
Regulate Ledgers and Not Individual Crypto Providers, BIS Study Says

To make cross-border payments easier, you need to change your whole way of thinking, the authors of the BIS study found.

To make cross-border payments easier, you need to change your whole way of thinking, the authors of the BIS study found.

CoinDesk - Unknown
4
CoinDesk - Unknown
Goldman Sees Little US Economic Impact From Lower Cryptocurrency Prices

The stock market decline has had a much larger effect on U.S. household net worth, the bank said.

The stock market decline has had a much larger effect on U.S. household net worth, the bank said.

CoinDesk - Unknown