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2020 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

Blockchain and Bills of Lading: Legal Issues in Perspective

Author : Huiru Liu

Published in: Maritime Law in Motion

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

This chapter examines the basic concept of the new blockchain technology, also known as distributed ledger technology (DLT), as a decentralized system analogous to a ledger in which transactions are recorded. The focus of the chapter is on the application of blockchain technology to the traditional bill of lading which bears the characteristics of being at once evidence of the contract of carriage between the carrier and shipper, a receipt given by the carrier for taking the goods, and a document of title facilitated by the bill being a chose in action and a negotiable instrument. How these characteristics may be retained through the use of blockchain technology is the essence of the discussion. The chapter concludes with a critique of the blockchain concept alluding to its efficiency on the one hand and its operational downsides on the other. It also points to the traditional conservatism of the shipping industry in terms of its acceptability and proposes an approach that combines traditional business practices with the positive aspects of blockchain technology to bills of lading.
Footnotes
1
Ibid, p. 299.
 
2
Ibid, p. 300.
 
3
Ibid.
 
4
Dromgoole and Baatz (1998), p. 549.
 
5
Ibid.
 
6
Sanders v. Maclean (1883), 11 QBD 327, at p.341 where Bowen L.J. described a bill of lading as “a key which in the hands of a rightful owner is intended to unlock the door of the warehouse, floating or fixed, in which the goods may chance to be”.
 
7
McKinlay et al. (2018).
 
8
Iansiti and Lakhani (2017).
 
9
Au and Power (2018), p. 8.
 
10
Aziz (2017).
 
11
McKeon (2018).
 
12
Kinthaert (2016).
 
13
Bashir (2018), pp. 23–24.
 
14
Iansiti and Lakhani (2017).
 
15
Ibid.
 
16
Ibid.
 
17
Ibid.
 
18
Bashir (2018), p. 28.
 
19
Ibid.
 
20
Xuereb (2018).
 
21
Lin (2017).
 
22
Warner (2017).
 
23
Ibid.
 
24
Takahashi (2016), p. 204.
 
25
McKinlay et al. (2018).
 
26
UNCTAD (2017).
 
27
UNCTAD Secretariat (2003).
 
29
Takahashi (2016), p. 204.
 
30
Ibid.
 
31
Van Maanen and Regtien (2018).
 
32
Ong (2018), p. 4; Takahashi (2016), p. 209.
 
33
Sanders v. Maclean (1883), 11 QBD 327, at p. 341; See also Ong (2018), p. 12.
 
34
Ong (2018), p. 12.
 
35
Ibid, p. 20.
 
36
Ibid, p. 23.
 
37
Ibid, pp. 23–24.
 
39
Takahashi (2016), pp. 207–210.
 
40
The full text is available at UNCITRAL (2018).
 
41
Schedule of meetings of Working Group IV since 1997, published on the UNCITRAL website, http://​www.​uncitral.​org/​uncitral/​en/​commission/​working_​groups/​4Electronic_​Commerce.​html.
 
42
United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Carriage of Goods Wholly or Partly by Sea, 2008.
 
43
Takahashi (2016), p. 207.
 
44
UN General Assembly (2011), p. 10, para. 35.
 
45
UNCITRAL (2018), p. 23, para.18.
 
46
Takahashi (2016), p. 207.
 
47
UNCITRAL (2018), p. 33, para.64.
 
48
Ong (2018), p. 10.
 
49
Tapscott and Tapscott (2017), p. 23.
 
50
Lin (2017).
 
51
Tricoli (2018).
 
52
Russ and Water (2018).
 
53
Ibid.
 
54
Lin (2017).
 
55
Ibid.
 
Literature
go back to reference Au S, Power T (2018) Tokenomics: The crypto shift of blockchains, ICOs, and tokens. Packt Publishing, Birmingham Au S, Power T (2018) Tokenomics: The crypto shift of blockchains, ICOs, and tokens. Packt Publishing, Birmingham
go back to reference Bashir I (2018) Mastering blockchain: distributed ledger technology, decentralization, and mart contracts explained, 2nd edn. Packt Publishing, Birmingham Bashir I (2018) Mastering blockchain: distributed ledger technology, decentralization, and mart contracts explained, 2nd edn. Packt Publishing, Birmingham
go back to reference Dromgoole S, Baatz Y (1998) The bill of lading as a document of title. In: McKendrick P (ed) Interests in goods, 2nd edn. London, LLP Dromgoole S, Baatz Y (1998) The bill of lading as a document of title. In: McKendrick P (ed) Interests in goods, 2nd edn. London, LLP
go back to reference Takahashi K (2016) Blockchain technology and electronic bills of lading. J Int Maritime Law 22(3):202–211 Takahashi K (2016) Blockchain technology and electronic bills of lading. J Int Maritime Law 22(3):202–211
go back to reference UN General Assembly (2011) Legal issues relating to the use of electronic transferable records, Report of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce), Forty-fifth session, Vienna, 10–14 October 2011, A/CN.9/WG.IV/WP.115, 2011 UN General Assembly (2011) Legal issues relating to the use of electronic transferable records, Report of United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Working Group IV (Electronic Commerce), Forty-fifth session, Vienna, 10–14 October 2011, A/CN.9/WG.IV/WP.115, 2011
go back to reference UNCTAD (2017) Legal issues and regulatory developments. Review of Maritime Transport UNCTAD (2017) Legal issues and regulatory developments. Review of Maritime Transport
go back to reference Xuereb GJ (November 2018) Blockchain and smart contracts in the shipping industry: legal considerations. CECCA Newsletter on Maritime Law and Commerce (14) Xuereb GJ (November 2018) Blockchain and smart contracts in the shipping industry: legal considerations. CECCA Newsletter on Maritime Law and Commerce (14)
Metadata
Title
Blockchain and Bills of Lading: Legal Issues in Perspective
Author
Huiru Liu
Copyright Year
2020
Publisher
Springer International Publishing
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-31749-2_19

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