Container shipping blockchain suspends operations

One of shipping’s early cryptocurrency start-ups, Hong Kong firm 300cubits, has admitted defeat in its attempts to gain traction with its blockchain-enabled container booking platform, announcing that it has suspended operations of its Booking Deposit Module effective from the start of October.

The 300cubits system, which used cryptocurrency tokens called TEUs as collateral to guard against no-shows in container bookings, was first announced in the second half of 2017. The platform started accepting trial shipments in March 2018, and was launched into live production in July 2018.

While the company said that it had managed to generate some level of participation from liner operators such as Sealand, CMA CGM, MSC and Cosco, transactions ultimately did not reach the level required to sustain the project.

“When using the System, both carriers and shippers were careful about their commitment. Nearly all except one shipment where booking deposits were placed were executed according to the booking,” said 300cubits, in a statement.

“However, the transaction volume through the System have been far from commercial. Only a couple hundred containers have gone through the System, which, although may seem plenty among the shipping blockchain projects, is not sufficient to keep the System going commercially.”

The firm has blamed a lack of clarity with regard to potential regulation of cryptocurrencies as the main stumbling block in gaining acceptance for the blockchain platform, as well as widespread volatility in the general cryptocurrency market.

With the suspension of its Booking Deposit Module, 300cubits says it now intends to burn at least 75% of the TEU tokens that have not been sold or picked up by industry users, and will burn the other tokens currently in use as they are circulated back to the company.