When Thilo Knoop goes shopping, it’s not unusual for him to spend more than €100 ($112) on a cup holder. It’s not that he’s buying collector’s items or luxury goods, but as an employee of Lufthansa Technik’s research and development department, nearly everything he buys online is for the Germany’s flagship carrier to test for the aerospace industry.
Purchasing state-of-the-art components online also comes with a series of pitfalls. Due to their high costs, these parts can often be counterfeit. To avoid buying a fake, Mr. Knoop and others at Lufthansa Technik are experimenting with blockchain technology, a new way of digitally tracking transactions.
Relatively new on the scene, blockchains are databanks that store records of transactions, including sales, purchases or deliveries. However, unlike conventional databanks, blockchains are not stored on a single server. Instead they’re decentralized and spread across any number of computers. In the case of Mr. Knoop’s purchse, the information would be store with the airline, the seller, the part’s manufacturer and even the logistics company. Everyone in the blockchain has a record.