Case Study

Applications of distributed ledger technologies and ZKP using aviation data

Public Sector
Business and Technology Strategy
Blockchain, DLT


The Department for Transport recognised the increasing interest in the use of distributed ledger technologies and related innovations being shown by its stakeholders operating within the aviation industry. To properly discharge its role as the ministerial branch of HM Government responsible for most of the UK’s travel networks, it knew it needed to increase its internal understanding of the risks and opportunities those technologies afford. 

The Department wished to go one step further than abstract theory and instead discuss and evaluate specific use cases that might impact aviation. 

MDRx was asked to provide this specialist strategic advice, in recognition of our deep expertise and unique ability to leverage both strategic and technological as well as legal insights and know-how. 


MDRx provided a history of the evolution of distributed ledgers and related technologies to the Department for Transport, helping to conceptualise how these technologies have come to exist as they are today complete with their controversies. 

We provided clear working definitions applied specifically for the Department for key terms ranging from blockchain and wallets to cryptography and zero knowledge proofs. This empowers the entire Department to operate with consistent terminology, allowing them to execute more decisively and quickly in the future. 

We spotlighted several real-world and theoretical use cases for distributed ledger technologies, zero knowledge proofs and other related technologies within the aviation industry. These covered, as per the Department’s request, use cases from pre-flight through to post-flight. We were able to point to several of our own historic use cases, including a pandemic-related blockchain smart contract and our data marketplace designed for the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority. We were honest and transparent with the challenges, pain points and issues with many so-called use cases, equipping the Department with often robust positions that are intended to protect against public harm. 

We provided a detailed analysis of the commercial, strategic, reputational, legal and regulatory issues posed by blockchain and other technologies, leveraging our unique relationship with one of the UK’s largest independent law firms Mishcon de Reya LLP. 

Finally, we also provided guidance on the ongoing oversight, maintenance and remediation that the Department must be able, or might need to, carry out in respect of related use cases, to best serve the aviation industry while critically protecting the public and other users of aircraft in the UK’s airspace. 


  • Working definitions and context: A clear and consistent “house view” of proper definitions and value propositions for blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies and other related technologies, as well as context as to how it has reached where it is today. 
  • Increased understanding: Increased competencies across the ministerial branch of HM Government through extensive knowledge transfer 
  • Aviation use cases: A detailed review of real-world and theoretical use cases relevant to the Department 
  • De-risked innovation: A clear understanding of relevant risks, assumptions, issues and dependencies, as well as specialist legal and regulatory advice from The MDR Group. 
  • On-going role: A clear understanding for the Department of the important role it must play in the event of a well-adopted distributed ledger-based aviation solution. 
Department for Transport

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