Blockchain Smart Contracts in Megacity Logistics

Open Access
Wu, Lawrence
Graduate Program:
Information Sciences and Technology
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
March 23, 2018
Committee Members:
  • Soundar Kumara, Thesis Advisor/Co-Advisor
  • Dinghao Wu, Committee Member
  • Nicklaus A Giacobe, Committee Member
  • blockchain
  • ethereum
  • hyperledger
  • bitcoin
  • cryptocurrency
  • megacity
  • supply chain
  • traceability
  • smart contracts
  • tracking
  • transparency
  • negotiation
  • procurement
  • hyperledger sawtooth
  • permissioned
  • permissionless
  • immutability
  • security
Megacities are becoming a major focus of the global economy, with almost 70\% of the world population expected to live in megacities by the year 2050. Logistics is the lifeblood of megacities and retailers need to find efficient and less expensive logistics systems. This thesis proposes a system of blockchain peer-to-peer smart contracts built with Hyperledger, to build a megacity grocery supply chain where retailers, suppliers, and logistics providers can bid directly for contracts, analyze market trends, trace product flow for food safety, and reduce costs by cutting out the middlemen. A blockchain can supplement or take the place of centralized fourth party logistics providers and reduce the layers of middlemen in the supply chain by connecting suppliers, retailers, and \acrfullpl{3pl} directly. The blockchain also provides a distributed ledger that all participants would have a copy of and can contribute to without repudiation. The decentralization inherent in the blockchain can allow smaller, independent contractors to be more competitive, increase efficiency by reducing the layers of middlemen, and reduce the costs of technology adoption for access to information. Smaller suppliers can be aggregated and matched to retailers through volume orders without a middleman. Logistics providers could be crowdsourced individual contractors that could be called upon anytime for small or rush deliveries, much like how rides can already be hailed on sharing economies such as Uber and Lyft. In terms of traceability, the cost of sharing data between all participants could be significantly reduced, food safety issues can be mitigated as soon as they are detected, blame would be less likely to fall on the wrong party, and counterfeit products would be impeded by their lack of provenance on the blockchain. Megacities that have to cope with reduced warehouse space, greater demand for direct/fresh delivery will need improvements like these to sustain their growth.