LifeWithBlockchain: The train is late again? Smart Contracts can help you to get you cash in a matter of seconds!
Probably everyone is similar this kind of announcement. If it hasn’t happened to you personally yet, you surely heard people complaining about how much delay the train had again. If it wasn’t canceled completely.
Since there is a legal basis and the company is still a service provider, compensations are paid to customers in case. Depending on predefined and publicly known criteria, the final compensations vary.
What is the pain point?
The average customer does not know these criteria in advance, therefore the customer first has to check whether he has a claim at all.
All current methods to enforce the claim, online or at the counter, need different documents to be filled out and handed in. In some cases, even different documents backing up the claim are required.
Especially for people whose job requires a frequent use of trains and are therefore constantly threatened by this procedure and ordeal, this process is a great burden and a constant pain. Not to mention, that from the point of submitting to the (hopefully) pay out, it takes a considerable amount of time .
How could these Pain Points be reduced or eliminated in a blockchain-world?
Blockchain technolgy in general, and Smart Contracts in particular, has the potential to solve this problem and make the world thereby a little more peaceful.
While booking the train ticket, the relevant data is implemented in a ready-made smart contract. This might include start and final destination, the respective departure and arrival time, the code of the train in action and the personal data of the traveler including a kind of preferred payment method.
If the criteria are met and the customer is entitled to compensation, the smart contract executes automatically. The money arrives within seconds on the provided payment method - Saving time and nerves.
Some extra thought from the company’s point of view:
The Smart Contract needs an oracle, which provides the data to check if the criteria are met and a compensation has to be paid. This data source must be already existing as it must be used in some way for the current process as well. Therefore, costs for the company are reduced on getting this data on the blockchain via an interface.
As the oracle is company intern, the oracle problem in terms of costs (it is already existing in some way) and reliability (it is the own company) should be at a minimum.
What are your thoughts? Will this be a tool used in the future or just another never happening idea?
Thank you for your time!
Thanks to Pascal Mehrwald (@pascalmehrwald), Benjamin Pabst von Ohain (@benpvo), Prof. Dr. Isabell M. Welpe and the TUM seminar participants.