So, your an organic shopper, ready to pay twice, three or four times the price? That said were does your produce REALLY come from and in the future he is how you will tell.
Every time you chop up carrots for a salad, can you tell the story about where those carrots come from? Unless you grow them in your own garden, you probably don’t know the exact story of how they got from the garden to your plate. This is a valid concern if you favor a marketplace in which you can choose to purchase organic vegetables and rest assured that those vegetables live up to their labeling. Blockchain developers would like to make supply chains more transparent so that you can establish exactly where your carrots and anything else you purchase came from.
A Blockchain is a kind of ledger that’s pretty hard to fool. When used by cryptocurrencies, the Blockchain would check that a client has control over enough assets to cover any given transaction before it can be sent. The system makes it impossible to “go into debt” by running a negative balance. New assets are created by mining rigs that lend processing power to any particular Blockchain’s network and relayed only by valid nodes on that network.
The same principle could be applied to the supply chain. Provenance is currently working on Blockchain-based solution that could help make supply chains more transparent. CEO Jessi Baker recently told Coindesk:
“What we see is really exciting with the Blockchain in that there is finally a method of perhaps gathering this data from far-flung areas where products are being produced and having that connected to an open ledger that isn’t governed by anyone.”
Provenance is currently working on a Blockchain-based solution to the problems caused by lack of transparency in supply chains. Its pilot project covers one arena that has certainly seen its share of supply chain issues: the fishing industry. Some sources estimate that as much as 1/3 of the seafood caught to be sold at market is never reported.2 Provenance’s immediate goal is to create an app that requires fishermen who participate in the Japanese sashimi market to log their catches on the Blockchain. This would assign each unit of legally caught fish a token that can be used to track the location of units of fish along the supply chain. If someone attempts to deliver a shipment of fish that has never been logged on the Blockchain, that shipment would be rejected and investigated by the appropriate personnel. Attempts to tamper with existing records would likewise be detected and rejected by valid nodes along the supply chain or an alert Blockchain specialist.
Jessi Baker hopes that Provenance’s Blockchain supply chain applications will not only become more widespread, but also be used to address social and environmental issues around the world. This has potential that goes way beyond addressing the problem of depleted populations of fish due to illegal overfishing. She told Coindesk, “We have seen products that are still being done by slaves, environments being destroyed by the production of consumer goods.” A Blockchain-based supply chain application would provide the transparency needed to track the source of suspect consumer goods and could provide options to reject goods that may be counterfeit or were produced by slave labor or environmentally questionable practices.
This is a technology that is still under development. However, corporations are beginning to listen to a customer base that is increasingly demanding ethically produced products but has been frustrated by a lack of transparency in the supply chain. Customers in a future grocery store could run a fish under a scanner with a Blockchain client that could provide them with information about the date and location that it was caught. That same scanner could also tell them about the growing methods used to produce that bag of carrots. This kind of information helps customers make better buying decisions.
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