I’m Slightly Less Confused about Cryptocurrency

Today we spent the day at the University of Nicosia. We first met with the Fleet Management Limited, then with the CEO of UNIC on blockchain and cryptocurrency, and lastly with the director of UNIC’s Institute for the Future on data forecasting.

Starting with FML, Fleet Management Limited. FML is the second largest ship management company in the world. One of the big reasons behind this is because Cyprus is the crossroads for the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. They manage, not own, 350 ships globally, and pioneer many of the crewing, safety, and technical standards in the industry. Most of their ships are bulk carries and next most used ships are oil tankers. Specifically to Cyprus FML runs about forty ships and has been noticed for its awards in green practices, and security management. FML plays a very important role in this supply chain: produce>>warehouse>>shipowner>>charterers>>ship crew>>managers>>consumer. Our presenters mentioned that in order to run properly and keep the supply chain stable FML has technical, operational, safety, purchasing, accounts, training, and crewing departments.

In addition to learning specifically about FML in Cyprus, we also learned about shipping globally. Transportation of large amounts of materials is the most practical and economic when compared to airplanes and trains. People have also made this process of shipping materials easier by building the Panama Canal (which saves ships 8,900 miles of sailing) and taking advantage of the Kiel and Suez Canals. We learned that that Shanghai China has the busiest port worldwide, and just in Europe Rotterdam, Netherlands (having been around since the 14th century) is the busiest port. Additionally, we learned that the biggest trading ship in the world is the container ship Ever Ace (can hold 24000 TEU), and for reference each container (holding up to 29 tons) can hold up to 8000 shoe boxes. It was nice to see a new perspective on shipping and to be able to visualize just how large these trading ships can get.

While my title may still indicate my confusion towards Cryptocurrency, today a lot of that uncertainty was cleared after our meeting with the CEO of UNIC, Mr. Antonis Polemitis. I learned that cryptocurrency is a system that can transfer digital coins, such as bitcoins, through a database that no one is in charge of. We talked about NFT’s, non fungible tokens, non fungible meaning unable to be replaced or exchanged through a market. Considering I had no idea what Cryptocurrency was going into this meeting I feel that I learned a decent amount.

Our last meeting of the day was about forecasting. I learned that forecasting is predicting which items should be available when demanded by customers. The goal is to estimate the future as accurately and objectively as possible. I thought it was interesting to learn that Walmart has the most forecasts, with 2.3 billion items being forecasted every week. Additionally, it was neat to lean that each item has a different level of uncertainty when forecasting. For example, it is harder to forecast fashions items than say milk cartons because fashion is constantly changing and modifying whereas the only uncertainty with milk is whether or not it is expired.

I enjoyed each meeting today, and I can say with 100% certainty that I learned a lot of information I have never heard about before.

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