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Blockchain in the Supply Chain

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Bitcoin is on a tear, recently hitting a near $10 thousand USD global valuation. The crypto currency has attracted the attention of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as well as high brow investors. It’s even surpassing the value of gold on its recent run.

As Bitcoin reaches new heights, people and experts alike are predicting a collapse: a bubble that will burst and destroy the potential of crypto currencies without regulation and oversight. But Bitcoin and crypto currencies have given rise to something else, something that may prove valuable for every industry. Blockchain.

Ask anyone what blockchain is, and if they’re in the know, they will likely respond ‘Bitcoin’. Blockchain is the foundation of Bitcoin, but it’s potential beyond the crypto currency is absolutely enormous.

So lets step back, and look at just what Blockchain is. To understand blockchain, we have to go back to 2008 and look at a manifesto put out in Japan that year by Satoshi Nakamoto. No one knows the author, let alone who the person was. All sorts of theories abound as to identity, but the ‘who’ is far less important than the what and the why.

What Nakamoto published was a manifesto to a new way of doing business, wrapped in  a vision of new money. The seven principles he laid out provide the foundation for a powerful technological leap beyond crypto currencies.

The seven principles of Blockchain

  1. Networked Integrity – Integrity is coded at every step
  2. Distributed Power – Peer to peer networks
  3. Value as Incentive – All stakeholders benefit
  4. Security – Crypotography
  5. Privacy – You control your data
  6. Rights Preserved – Ownership is transparent and portable
  7. Inclusion – Everyone benefits

I won’t go through them all in detail in this article, but will touch upon those that specifically affect the supply chain. In my next blog article I will explore blockchain in ecommerce and go into much more detail.

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Grocery Supply Chains: Blockchain Uses

One of the big issues in current grocery supply chains is mischaracterisation of food products. This is particularly acute in seafood where fish is often misrepresented and sold as some thing altogether different. For the retailer, this situation is a potential reputation breaker. For the customer, it may represent fraud and may potentially create medical issues for those with allergies.

A UK-based company Provenance is tackling this problem using blockchain. They want us to imagine a world where every product has a digital pedigree, a passport so to speak, that allows us to trace the origin and the movement of the product through the supply chain up to the point of purchase. Using blockchain, the process is auditable, unchangeable, and open. They have applied a number of Nakamoto’s principles to the food supply chain. They are also doing the same with fashion applying the same blockchain technology to the production of raw materials to the completion of the finished garment.

So I want to leave you with this explainer video from Wired. Food for thought — or so to speak! Next time, we will explore blockchain uses in retail and ecommerce. Subscribe to VL’s OMNIlink Newsletter and receive our weekly update on new VL articles, articles published by our partners, and industry news from around the web.

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