Etihad Airways Integrates Travel-Focused Blockchain Platform Winding Tree

As Reuters reported on Aug. 8, Etihad joined a range of other leading international airlines that already deploy the Winding Tree platform, including Air Canada, Air France-KLM, and Lufthansa.

The product is set to reduce transaction costs for customers, as well as enable companies to publish inventory directly to their customers, among other services.

The national carrier of the United Arab Emirates Etihad Airways has partnered with blockchain-based platform for the travel industry Winding Tree to explore how blockchain can aid in distribution.

Logistics see greater adoption of blockchain

Tristan Thomas, director of digital and innovation at Etihad, told Reuters that “Winding Tree is obviously our distribution (platform) and that’s an opportunity for us to disrupt a traditionally siloed market dominated by major distribution systems.”

Pedro Anderson, Winding Tree’s chief operating officer and co-founder, also commented on the cooperation, saying:

“We have been doing experiments and new solutions on the platform. Ultimately, that benefits the consumer. When there’s innovation, you start to have disruption, you have competition which results in better prices for the consumer.”

Blockchain captivates the airline industry

As previously reported, Air Canada announced its participation in the Winding Tree platform last October. Keith Wallis, Director of Global Product Distribution for Air Canada, said then:

“Air Canada recognizes the importance of leveraging this next generation technology. We plan to integrate Air Canada’s Direct Connect API with Winding Tree’s public blockchain platform, giving blockchain-savvy users the ability to access our content directly from the source.”

Other airlines around the world have also been integrating blockchain tech into their internal processes. Earlier this month, Hong Kong’s flagship airline Cathay Pacific introduced the first blockchain project to manage unit load devices. The project intends to eliminate paper-based processes by implementing a blockchain application that allows instant management of such devices through a smartphone.

Insurance Giant Allianz Is Working on a Token-Based Blockchain Ecosystem

German financial services giant Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty SE (AGCS) is developing a blockchain-based ecosystem to facilitate cross-border insurance payments for its corporate customers.

Experimentations with blockchain technology

Allianz is working on a token-based blockchain system, expecting it to streamline international insurance payments for its corporate customers, Forbes reported on Aug. 8. An Allianz spokesperson told Forbes that the company is still in the experimentation phase, although the basic core infrastructure of the ecosystem has already been built and tested.

The spokesperson further explained that Allianz will next examine money transfers with a limited scope and for a short period of time in order to prove hypothesis. The spokesperson said:

“AGCS is further exploring blockchain technology to simplify and accelerate cross-border insurance payments for its corporate customers. A project team is in the advanced stages of development for a token-based electronic payment system to allow for frictionless, transparent and instantaneous money transfers for a range of different types of payments.”

Controversial stance on crypto assets

Worth noting, the CEO of Allianz Global Investors Andreas Utermann called for crypto assets to be “outlawed” last December, saying that he was “personally surprised that regulators haven’t stepped in harder.”

Conversely, Allianz’s Christian Weishuber said last summer that the company was exploring the crypto insurance sphere, saying, “insurance for cryptocurrency storage will be a big opportunity … digital assets are becoming more relevant, important and prevalent.”

Meanwhile, United States insurance giant State Farm and military-affiliated bank United Services Automobile Association were testing a blockchain-based subrogation solution with real claims data to automate and streamline the subrogation process in insurance claims as of the end of May.

State Farm Innovation Executive Mike Fields commented on the large scale of subrogation claims, and alluded to why streamlining the process would be desirable:

“In 2018 alone, the total amount of dollars demanded and issued through the subrogation process was over $9.6 Billion for all insurance carriers. You can imagine the time and resources required to complete these transactions.”

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