Royal Dutch Shell To Invest In A Blockchain Startup

Following a move to back trading platform which was based on blockchain last year, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell has acquired a minority interest in a blockchain technology startup named Applied Blockchain. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed however.

The startup has been in existence for three years and has bagged clients from various sectors including aerospace, manufacturing, auto manufacturing, telecommunications and banking. This is the first time Applied Blockchain is entering the energy sector and the deal comes at a time when the blockchain technology increasingly being used in oil and gas.

Commodity trading platform

Last year in November there were reports indicating that a consortium focusing on developing a commodity trading platform based on blockchain had been established by Statoil, BP and Shell. Also in the consortium were three commodity traders – Mercuria, Koch Supply & Trading and Gunvor. The launch of the platform is expected this year. Societe Generale, ING and ABN Amro have provided financial backing to the consortium.

In January last year it was revealed that Mercuria in conjunction with Societe Generale and ING were making preparations towards using blockchain technology to trade oil. The first trade was supposed to involve a crude shipment from Africa to ChemChina, a shareholder of Mercuria. Using blockchain technology in oil and gas trading is expected to cut costs besides saving time. It will also greatly simplify the trading process.

Taxi service

The acquisition of an interest in a blockchain startup by Royal Dutch Shell comes in the wake of the oil giant filing a license application for a taxi service in London via a subsidiary. This is the first time an oil company is trying out a ride-hailing service in the largest car-booking market in Europe. According to reports the FarePilot app of Shell filed the license application with the transport authority of London last year in July.

Per sources drivers are already being contacted with a view to having them sign up for a trial.

“Drivers often ask us, however, if we could further help them by giving them driving jobs and this is something that we are investigating but no decisions have been taken to go live with such a product,” said a company spokesperson.

Sources further indicate that Shell is not planning on competing with Uber but rather its service will be aimed at the business-to-business sector. Energy firms are facing anxieties as their businesses stand to be disrupted by ride-sharing services which are likely to reduce private car ownership.

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