Decentralized, blockchain-based logistics platform dexFreight launched the dexFreight Early Adopters Program for the trucking industry, calling out to shippers, carriers, brokers and forwarders to work with the company in molding dexFreight’s platform, which is now in the beta development stage.
Rajat Rajbhandari, co-founder and CEO of dexFreight, believes this association would be mutually beneficial, as dexFreight would use the real-world expertise of logistics stakeholders to evaluate new and advanced features of its platform, with early adopters getting exclusive access to the initial release versions.
“The idea for the Early Adopters Program is to invite companies to work with us, and to get feedback on what they’re looking for, their pain points, and the features they would like to see in our platform. This program is to get companies involved early in our development stage,” said Rajbhandari.
Though dexFreight users can post and pick up shipments, negotiate, track and trace freight, and work on payment settlements on the platform, just like any other digital freight marketplace, Rajbhandari explained that the unique selling proposition of the startup was that it was all done through smart contracts and blockchain technology.
“We are not a digital broker because we do not take a commission out of those individual transactions. Users can work on those transactions on their own, and we provide some advanced services for monetizing our platform,” said Rajbhandari. “They include invoice factoring, prediction algorithms, on-demand services and opening up the platform for third-party developers.”
Last year, dexFreight completed its first blockchain-based shipment using smart contracts, by moving a 5,320 pound frozen food shipment from Preferred Freezer Services in Medley, Florida to Manny’s Enterprises, Inc, in Sunrise, Florida. The objective of the pilot was to understand the nuances related to moving pallets from point A to point B, and the way this movement interacts with the blockchain.
Rajbhandari spoke about the challenges that the startup faced while working on the pilot run. For instance, confirming a delivery is critical, and dexFreight had to work on managing the interaction of the confirmation process with the smart contracts. The team also realized that a mobile application was necessary for a truck driver, because that would be the only way for them to get a proof of delivery confirmation to the smart contract, which in turn could trigger payment. In essence, the initial run helped dexFreight understand how humans would interact with a completely digitalized smart contract.
With regard to the Early Adopters Program, about 30 companies have signed up so far, with dexFreight looking to add live transactions to the platform in a couple of months.
To foster the growth of blockchain, Rajbhandari contended that open frameworks would help – especially in terms of compatibility and interoperability. “We know for a fact that shippers and carriers use multiple platforms, because they work with different companies. So it’s important that blockchain – whatever we implement it on, should be able to talk with somebody else’s blockchain to see if we need to perform asset verification between blockchains,” he said. “Having an open standard or at least an open definition would help. It is not so much about the infrastructure layer, but the application layer – the definition of data points, which would be very helpful.”
The Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) would be ideal, as the Alliance brings together players from different nodal points within supply chains, to effect an end-to-end system that would help standardize frameworks and regulate the way blockchain is used in the future.
dexFreight is now looking at designing a rewards program for its early adopters, including a free token model that would give companies tokens for early collaboration. Rajbhandari trusted that this could help incentivize adoption and also make sure that the platform is in continuous usage. Called dexMiles, the tokens would enable companies to earn, hold and trade the reward currency, thus helping increase the network value. And as with all cryptocurrencies, the value of dexMiles would increase as its demand exceeds supply.