Five blockchain disruptions: 2/ New transparency

Swiss watchmaker Ulysse Nardin (Kering Group) uses the Bitcoin blockchain to certify the authenticity of its watches. Ailsa Bay Scotch Whiskey (William Grant & Sons Group) does the same on the Arc-net private blockchain. In France, Carrefour will “blockchain” all its food products by 2022 (with IBM) to offer consumers better knowledge of their origin.

In terms of traceability, the movement towards blockchains is proven – and massive. And this transition is accelerating. Just since last May, and to name just a few examples:

The Italian government has announced to invest 15 million euros in the development of blockchain solutions to fight counterfeits and protect the “Made in Italy” label.

Kvarøy Arctic, a large Norwegian salmon farmer, now follows and traces his fish with IBM’s blockchain solution. Its CEO explains: “Blockchain is the future when it comes to ending fraud in the seafood industry”.

In Australia, a shoe manufacturer and a retailer are teaming up to trace Nike sneakers on the VeChain blockchain in limited edition. And the same blockchain is used in Cyprus to store, securely and tamper-proof, Covid-19 test results conducted by a hospital.

In Afghanistan, the Ministry of Health has just started a pilot project of tracing of medicines and pharmaceutical products on the Opera blockchain, in partnership with several manufacturers, intended to reduce the circulation of fake drugs.

Also in June, World Chess, which organizes with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) a series of international tournaments qualifying for the World Chess Championships, announced adopt the Algorand blockchain to record all data relating to players and their resultsit’s clear.

Since this year, the Petit Beurre de LU (Mondelēz) is the first cookie traced on a blockchain

Supply (block)chain

It will be understood that the movement is global and concerns all industries and almost all countries.

Virtues and advantages of blockchains are known and apply particularly well to the modernization of the supply chain (supply chain).

The Deloitte firm, in a report on the future of the supply chainExplain :

“Overall, blockchain technology offers a way to record transactions (or any digital interaction) in a secure, transparent, highly fault-resistant, auditable and efficient way”. […]

“In the supply chain, these features help to reduce the number of intermediaries, including those who were previously the guarantors of trust throughout the chain. This will increase efficiency and reduce overall costs”.

For one of the four largest auditing and consulting firms in the world, blockchain is therefore one of the key elements to bring new transparency and optimize industrial production. And the blockchain thus becomes a natural complement to the Internet of Things (IoT):

“If you combine sensors collecting massive amounts of data with a blockchain providing standardization, transparency and traceability, you create value on the data collected”.

Finally, “blockchain and IoT can significantly help global enterprises reduce operational risk, ensuring reliable and attack-resistant data flows”continues Deloitte.

And to conclude:

“Overall, these technologies [blockchains et IoT] will revolutionize the way the different actors in the supply chain capture, exchange and read data, on a secure, shared and transparent platform”.

Transparency, simple as blockchain?

We therefore understand the virtuous circle of this “revolution” which is formed by the use of blockchain technologies:

  • Companies can better optimize their production cycles, better manage their suppliers, better check the transport conditions of their products, and in the process save money.
  • States can better fight against fraud and counterfeiting, better monitor compliance with standards, and even better fight against forced labor.
  • And consumers, at the end of the chain, can get to know the products they buy better, know everything about their origin, their storage or processing conditions.

Along the way, new possibilities arise. The proximity between blockchains and crypto-currencies allows new loyalty models. The Chinese solution Taelblockchain tracing already implemented for more than 350 products, from baby jars to cosmetics and Japanese sake, allows consumers to verify the authenticity of products, but also to receive rewards in tokens.

Of course, a blockchain is not a silver bullet. It will not always be enough to guarantee the reliability of the data it houses, nor the quality of the products referenced therein. But, a fortiori with public blockchains, we nevertheless have an unprecedented framework on which a new transparency can be built.

Whether it’s supply chain, financial transactions, or authentication certificates, making visible, traceable, immutable and auditable what was not so far is essential – and increasingly involves the use of blockchain technologies. Ultimately, one can even argue that if any data is not recorded on a blockchain, then it will not really exist — or will not inspire confidence.

Transparency, traceability and blockchains are now inseparable.

(This post is part of a series where I detail five of the main transformations induced by blockchains and cryptocurrencies. Previous: 1/ Decentralized finance)

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Five blockchain disruptions: 2/ New transparency

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