Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) and Ernst & Young (EY) have developed a blockchain-based platform to enable high-value assets to be more easily shared between businesses.
In a proof of concept conducted earlier this year, CBA and EY built a dashboard ‘built on blockchain technology’ to manage and display data from a crop sprayer fitted with IoT sensors.
In the experiment, it was imagined that the crop sprayer was co-owned by three farmers.
“Managed through smart contracts, the platform aimed to enhance trust and transparency of asset availability to all participants by integrating smart-lock functionality that could be automatically locked or unlocked when a payment is made,” the bank said. “This would enable assets to be easily shared without requiring any intervention from the owner.”
The intention is for the dashboard to enable “fractional ownership” of assets that ultimately manage themselves. Agriculture is particularly ripe for such platforms given that assets like tractors and sprayers are expensive, and not often used for much of the year, the bank said.
“Owners often pay big money upfront for the asset, but it causes a drag on profit margins if it lies idle, waiting to be used. In farming, we know it’s very common for specialised and expensive equipment to be underutilised for much of the year,” said Tim Harvey, CBA’s general manager of strategy, innovation and operations for regional agribusiness banking.
CBA first hinted it was exploring self-managing assets and machines late last year. The bank envisages a future ‘machine-to-machine (M2M) economy’ in which assets not only have their own bank accounts to pay for part sand maintenance, but can also be leased by the hour.
The M2M economy, will be “especially significant” for agriculture, the bank says, adding that it has identified 20 use cases for experimentation.