Blockchain’s Role in the Produce Supply Chain: Part Five–Hybrid (On-chain + Off-chain) Systems

Blockchain technology alone cannot provide freshness, safety, provenance, and recall capabilities. That requires data and capabilities from outside the blockchain. It seems that the best emerging approach will be a hybrid consisting of 1) a centralized networked SaaS platform providing economical scalability and deep algorithmic and process capabilities, combined with 2) blockchain and smart contracts for transparency and validation. Blockchains are attractive because of their ability to create a shared, trusted single-version-of-the-truth between trading partners. However, a networked SaaS platform can provide a shared, trusted single-version-of-the-truth at a much lower cost.

Blockchain’s Role in the Produce Supply Chain: Part Four–Smart Contracts vs. Off-chain Automation

A blockchain may contain smart contracts that trigger and execute at key handoffs and decision points for each pallet or case of produce flowing throughout the end-to-end supply chain from farm to consumer. These can be used to automate key transactions and decisions. Until we see further technology breakthroughs, the cost of executing smart contracts makes them prohibitively expensive for providing 100% of the automation required in a produce supply chain. Here we discuss the division of labor between on-chain contracts and off-chain backend automation systems.

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Blockchain’s Role in the Produce Supply Chain: Part Two – Freshness and Safety

The most valuable improvements for the produce supply chain come from increasing freshness and safety. Growers and retailers are always looking to reduce waste and spoilage in the supply chain and provide produce that has a longer post-purchase shelf life, with superior freshness. Improving freshness and reducing spoilage requires a number of additional data elements and capabilities, beyond those needed for traceability for provenance and recall.  Companies can implement their own policies in a smart contract or off-chain. All data such as test results, events, etc. can also be stored in a blockchain if stronger proof of non-tampering is required. 

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  • Blockchain’s Role in the Produce Supply Chain: Part Three – Specific Capabilities

    Recording the various transactions, HACCP steps, and temperature readings onto a blockchain can add trust and additional capabilities to the system. The data about orders, prices, transactions, shipments, and so forth needs to be kept private to the parties involved. Consensus may be met with just a small number of checks being made to validate the data being written on the blockchain. Here we describe specific capabilities blockchain brings to a produce supply chain, such as tamper-resistance, automation/smart contracts, settlement, and record of soft claims, auditability, and enabling uber-like spot markets. We also touch on why a permissioned blockchain is needed.

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    Blockchain’s Role in the Produce Supply Chain: Part One – Traceability and Blockchain

    A lot has been written specifically about the potential use of blockchain technologies in fresh food supply chains. The vision is that industry-wide blockchains can provide stronger assurance of origin and chain-of-custody, faster and more precise recalls, fresher produce and meat, reduce waste and spoilage, and fewer contamination incidents. A strong case can be made that the greatest value potential is in improving freshness and safety. How blockchain can help establish provenance and recall capabilities, in particular by providing trace­ability? To understand the role of blockchain in providing traceability, and hence provenance and recall, we examine four ways to achieve traceability.

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    The Pros and Cons of Buying Into the Blockchain

    In layman’s terms, blockchain is a modern, digital ledger designed to record and secure all transactions that happen under its reach. Before a transaction or digital “block” can enter the network, it must be verified. This verification is part of what makes blockchain technology so alluring because it’s transparent, accurate and decentralized. A deeper and more intrusive understanding, blockchain requires a considerable guide. For now, we’re going to focus on the pros and cons of the technology, which will probably influence whether or not you want to adopt it for yourself or within your organization.


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    Blockchain, Identity, and CSR in 2018

    Here we focus on blockchain, Identity Management, and Corporate Social Responsibility, a timeless subject that has taken on added meaning. Identity management technology exists that can obviate the need for passwords or storing personal information in servers all over the place. There has also been a movement to try and give individuals a single, universal digital identity. With regulations on the wane (for now) as an inhibitor of bad behavior, it is heartening to see business leaders stepping up to the plate to try and create cultures and actions of corporate responsibility.

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    Considering Blockchain? Master DevOps First.

    To capitalize on emerging blockchain opportunities, many IT leaders are looking to jump-start some development pilots. But if you start squeezing out blockchain code without first achieving DevOps mastery, you’ll wind up with a very counter-productive digital value bottleneck. DevOps maturity is a prerequisite for reliable integration of your new blockchain apps and these core systems. To quickly, easily, and iteratively test integration of new blockchain code, your developers and QA staff need a DevOps toolchain that provides them with convenient access to some sort of application modeling – such as application “stubs,” virtual instances, or API sandboxing. 

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    Hyperledger blockchain projects: from incubation to production-ready status

    Several Hyperledger initiatives have been launched in 2017 with the aim to provide an open, smart, interoperable technology infrastructure that connects the global ecosystem. We may expect to see several new Hyperledger projects, providing new types of ledgers, new versions of existing ones and specially amazing tools to work with. We will see new practices for legally binding of distributed ledgers and smart contracts as well as first impacts to industries using it. And we will see more projects and tools going from the incubation to the production-ready status.

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    VC for The Decentralised Future: Introducing the Convergence Ecosystem

    The Convergence Ecosystem is open-source, distributed, decentralised, automated and tokenised and we believe it is nothing less than an economic paradigm shift. The Internet of Things is creating an unmanageable data environment, and artificial intelligence is giving those who control the most data more power than any company in history. Future decentralised data infrastructure will come from the convergence of the Internet of Things (data production), blockchains (data distribution), and artificial intelligence (data consumption). The integration of these technologies will see markets become increasingly open-source, distributed, decentralised, automated, and tokenised.

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    Banks and Blockchain Hype cycle: Phase of Disillusionment

    Many banks and other financial institutions have entered the blockchain area for fear of missing out, investing heavily in research, proof of concepts, and pilots to gain blockchain know-how. Despite many successful trials, up till now they have not led to real-world use. We are still waiting for the first important blockchain application to make a real impact. Financial services firms that arguably have the most to gain from blockchain are still staying behind expectations in real world acceptance. Blockchain could one day disrupt the finance world, but that will take at least another five to ten years.

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    What future role for CSDs in blockchain post-trade environment?

    Central Securities Depositories (CSDs), in the post-trade environment, are changing their mind on new technologies and on their future position in the blockchain world. Increasing regulation, legacy systems, and costs pressures, are drivers for CSDs to at least embrace some aspects of the blockchain. They are increasingly considering them as an enabler of more efficient processing of existing and new services, instead of a threat to their existence. CSDs are likely to play an integral role in any blockchain environment. But they will look quite different from we know them today. Yes. CSDs are not expected to disappear in a blockchain world.

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