Dr. Axel T. Schulte heads the Purchasing and Finance department in Supply Chain Management at Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund and is part of Blockchain Europe.

What does Blockchain Europe do?

Blockchain Europe is the project funded by the North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Economic and Digital Affairs to establish the European Blockchain Institute at Fraunhofer IML in Dortmund. We have been working in this project since May last year on selected use cases from logistics and supply chain management, such as the transport of hazardous goods and customs clearance. Further use cases are continuously being added. In addition, hardware and software solutions including suitable business models are being developed, while at the same time our network of partners from industry and science is constantly growing.

What is the concrete added value of Blockchain Europe?

At its core, it is about testing and developing blockchain applications and thus also about the application-oriented proof of concept of the technology itself. In this context, open source solutions are continuously developed and made available to industry and, in particular, to small and medium-sized enterprises. Companies should thus be enabled more quickly to bring the diverse possibilities of blockchain technology into application in interaction with other technologies such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.

Why should companies get involved now?

When it comes to blockchain, the issue for Germany and Europe is to take the necessary steps now so that the added value of this and other technologies can be exploited and we can take a pioneering role internationally in the development and use of this technology. The willingness to do this in a way that is open to technology and results, and to consistently question existing solutions and framework conditions, will determine success. Thanks to the initiative and willingness of the North Rhine-Westphalian state government, and in particular of Economics Minister Dr. Andreas Pinkwart, to provide targeted support for research in this field, we are in an excellent starting position to achieve this together in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and Europe.