Learning by doing is a central goal for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. In particular, the Maas-program follows this approach, also in new developments that may relate to MaaS implementation in the future, such as blockchain. The Ministry wanted to encourage companies to offer blockchain solutions by starting a challenge. They were summoned to show opportunities for the exchange of sensitive data related to the 7 Dutch MaaS-pilots. In November 2019 the Ministry started a Blockchain challenge; three companies applied; two participants gave up halfway. Sony Corporation was the only one to complete the challenge.

Blockchain is considered one of the disrupting technologies in the world and may contribute to a successful (future) functioning of MaaS ecosystems. Especially for those functionalities requiring confidence in transactions between different (competing) stakeholders, blockchain offers a solid solution. Transactions that contain privacy-or financially sensitive information, require complex arrangements between stakeholders to be in place.

Sony set up a blockchain infrastructure based on a data test set from the Ministry. This set consisted of MaaS Data String Messages complete with fare fee and calculation parameters. A total of 7 million of blockchains were included. The blockchains were created and processed between the “MaaS providers”. Blockchain nodes and an archive at high speed on a three days Proof of Concept. The largest quantity processed was over 1.6mio transactions per hour. The transactions were also processed into various  visualizations about modal split and revenue sharing.

Sony’s challenge demonstrated a blockchain application that may fit in a data driven, decentral architecture equal to the International Data Space. It offers a reliable solution for sharing transaction records. MaaS entities can implement business rules in an industry Common Distributed Ledger. It is now up to all (inter)national MaaS Service Providers, Transport Operators and Transaction Processors to weigh the benefits of a blockchain application against the costs of implementation and operation.

The outcome Sony has demonstrated impressed the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. It was a pleasant cooperation but above all the challenge delivered promising results. Click here for the outcomes of the Blockchain Challenge Program.