‘Big Blue’ Develops Linux and Apache Supported Blockchain
Accountability and Transparency Matters
IBM with the help of Linux, and Apache have been developing a hyperledger project that is a permissioned blockchain designed for enterprise that will attempt to tackle many of the problems in the current supply chain. They want to democratize the system by building trust with all involved, increase accountability, and create transparency. In so doing, it will lower friction in the supply chain, and fix the vulnerabilities.
IBM is working with hundreds of companies who are interested in this project, along with the number one grocery retailer, Walmart. Walmart is interested in the food safety aspect.
Being number 1 in the industry, Walmart has much to gain from this project. VP of Food Safety, Frank Yiannas, pointed to the fact that when there is an outbreak involving food, it could take many days, or even weeks to find out exactly what food needs to be recalled. This costs companies in the food supply chain a staggering amount of money, not to mention the lives affected or lost.
To address this, Walmart, along with many other companies are looking to blockchain to provide instant traceability. Walmart is working this out in a couple pilot programs (one in the US, and another in China) where information about products that customers buy will be available them and the store by just scanning products with their smartphone. From the farm, to the shelf, 100% transparency. Where, how, when it was grown, harvested, shipped, stored, and so on.
“Blockchain technology enables a new era of end-to-end transparency in the global food system – equivalent to shining a light on food ecosystem participants that will further promote responsible actions and behaviors, ” said Yiannas in his press statement.
Frank Yiannas also feels that the blockchain would help deter bad food handling, and production practices in the supply chain. Businesses would not be able to add, let’s say, horse meat to a product and say it was beef. If this was fully realized, the unchangeable ledger would indicate that horse meat was used. This, and food related outbreaks cost the industry billions.
So you can see where the drive to fix this issue comes from. Walmart feels the problems the blockchain fixes are, food safety, freshness, waste, fraud, responsibility, and trust. Walmart wants to save money, and to earn customers trust at the same time.
What do you think of this project by Walmart, and IBM? Would you like to scan your food at your local store, and see how it got there? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below.
Author: Steven Johnson