50 Shades of Blockchain: examples in process world. Let's discuss what could be relevant in the future of process automation.

In a recent article, Matteo Gianpietro Zago, an Italian expert in Web 3.0 and Chairman at The Internet of Blockchains Foundation, reported 50+ applications of Blockchain in the real world.

After the “social experiment” of the Bitcoin, which intrinsic relevance appears not so deep, blockchain have revealed a different face, more technological and more helpful to the human evolution than merely a financial game. Blockchain seems right now a new way to manage information and grant them, and following Zago, some applications are also possible in the Industry, with examples that touches the worlds of Supply Chains, Shipping, Energy Distribution and Waste Management.

The easier way here to show the applications is to report a short abstract from the above-mentioned article:

"...Supply Chains

Supply chain management is seen as one of the most beneficial use cases for blockchain, as it’s ideal for industries where goods are passed through various pairs of hands, from beginning to end, or manufacturer to the store . IBM and Walmart have teamed up to launch Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China. The project, run in conjunction with Fortune 500 company JD.com, is designed  to improve food tracking and safety, making it easier to verify that food is safe to consume.


Blockchain’s suitability to recording shiping data is self-evident. A number of projects have distributed ledger technology to work in this domain, using it within the maritime logistics industry to bring transparency to the unavoidable bureaucracy in international trade. Maersk, one of the largest global shippers, was the pioneer to make use of blockchain and now ZIM have picked up the torch.

Energy Distribution

One of the biggest challenges facing the energy industry, companies in the habit of trading surplus supply need infallible record keeping. Tracking energy allocations in real time, and ensuring efficient distribution through the supply chain requires multiple data points, and also mandates close cooperation between all entities. Essentia is developing a test project with a number of major energy suppliers that will help them track the distribution of resources in real time, whilst maintaining data confidentiality at all times.

Waste Management

Waltonchain’s RFID technology is being used by a Smart Waste Management System in China. Using Walton’s blockchain, the project will enable supervision of waste levels to improve operational efficiencies and optimize resources. ..."

Having worked in Emerson from 2004, I have recognized  the high value of the flexibility in several applications. In few words, thanks to flexibility, modularity and easiness of applications, our solutions can be applied to any kind of need. The above mentioned applications, should they need to work with a DCS, will easily fit with PlantWeb Digital Ecosystem and with Emerson IIoT solutions.

It’s time to think about Bockchain technology and it’s time to fit it into process control. I would be happy if you, who are reading now this article, could share with me your thoughs, applications, ideas, in order to build your requirements and make Emerson competencies in Blockchain applications a foundation of your future.

Maurizio De Francesco

4 Replies

  • but ... it should be possible to apply this to Custody Transfer ?
  • In reply to giuseppe bernardelli:

    Yes, it can be applicable to Custody Transfer. I think that a way of connecting Custody Transfer to a blockchain should be to connect the transfer values (timely stamped or flowing out of the meter) to a generator of SHA that shares values with external blocks. This is the theoretical approach; to turn it into practical application you might have to ask to our PSS experts.

    Maurizio De Francesco

  • not Maersk, ever heard of Cargo X (shipping B/L) and Modum (Life sciences)? I would not say that BTC is a social experiment, it was the first used case for blockchain and designed to have a decentralized monetary system after the financial meltdown that happened years ago. we have BAKKT coming up and it will change the way the world - FIAT money is an ancient form of payment that will not survice the digitalization. The use of smart contracts will also be for sure find it's way in industry and be of relevance for us.
  • In reply to Danny Vandeput:

    Thank you Danny for your contribution. Indeed, saying that BTC is a social experiment is a provocation, but it's interesting to see that in EU, around 60% of people don't recognize that BlockChain is not only for payments. As a versatile technology can be used for a large variety of things, from technology to medicine to art. About FIAT money disappearance, I'm not so sure, or at least we should talk in a very large time scale as money (more than ways to make payments) is strictly regulated by states. Anyway, only who survives will see... Ciao!

    Maurizio De Francesco