Project description:

Since July 2019, the Blockchain Research Lab collaborates with Airbus, Chainstep, and iPoint-systems, under the lead of Altran Germany, on a three-year research project called DiBiChain. The project is funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). Its research goal is to make product life cycles more transparent and sustainable through the use of blockchain technology.

Today’s product life cycles are complex and decentralized. It is often difficult to judge the sustainability of a product and its compliance with ecological and social standards. The DiBiChain project partners aim to develop a blockchain system that provides a digital replica of the product life cycle. This will make it possible to transparently trace a product “from cradle to grave” and distribute indirect costs equitably among stakeholders. One of the Blockchain Research Lab’s key contributions will be the design of the blockchain’s incentive structure, which will enable the comprehensive tracking of direct and indirect costs.

The research findings will be evaluated and implemented in a use case supplied by Airbus.


BRL Working Paper No. 18

The DibiChain protocol: Privacy-preserving discovery and exchange of supply chain information

Elias Strehle, Martin Maurer

AbstractConnecting and exchanging information across organizations becomes increasingly important as supply chains become more complex and expectations with regard to sustainability, transparency and resilience increase. At the same time, organizations are adamant about protecting any competitive advantage which derives from private information about, for example, supplier networks, available inventory or production processes. Technology aimed at enabling information exchange within and across supply chains must therefore ensure high degrees of privacy and control over private information. In light of this, we specify the DibiChain protocol for the discovery and exchange of supply chain information. The protocol prioritizes data minimization in shared data stores, avoidance of persistent user identifiers and anonymous communication with minimal intermediation. We further outline how the DibiChain protocol can serve as the foundation for privacy-preserving supply chain applications, including an anonymous discovery service for GS1 EPCIS event data.

KeywordsPrivacy; Anonymity; Supply chain; Distributed ledger technology; Blockchain

Publication statusWorking paper

Suggested citationStrehle, E. & Maurer, M. (2021). The DibiChain protocol: Privacy-preserving discovery and exchange of supply chain information. BRL Working Paper No. 18.


BRL Working Paper No. 14

Public Versus Private Blockchains

AbstractPublic blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to have an exaggerated influence on the overall perception of blockchain technology. As a consequence, trustlessness is often presented as the central characteristic of blockchain: It is claimed that blockchain designers must assume that users do not trust each other and that there is no trusted third party. While this is arguably true for public blockchains, it is not a helpful perspective for private blockchains. Private blockchains can be highly efficient and effective when they act as a team player, operating alongside legal contracts, trust relationships, regulatory frameworks and trusted third parties.

Keywords: Blockchain; Enterprise Architecture

Publication statusWorking paper

Suggested citationStrehle, E. (2020). Public Versus Private Blockchains. BRL Working Paper No. 14.


BRL Working Paper No. 12

Blockchain for Supply Chain: From Promise to Practice

AbstractThe potential of blockchain for the supply chain sector is widely acknowledged, but it is not always clear how this potential can be realized in specific use cases. Supply chain blockchains must fit into the wider context of complex business relationships, existing technical systems, and ever-changing requirements. Consequently, their design requires a holistic approach which appreciates the complex interplay between the technology and its context. This paper presents a corresponding framework for analyzing and designing blockchain systems in the supply chain sector. It outlines the benefits of blockchain technology, provides guidance on deriving requirements from the use case, and distills critical implementation features.

KeywordsBlockchain, Supply Chain

Publication status: Working paper