The lack of transparency about the origin of the goods we consume or produce is reflected today in a sharp increase in the number of cases. As an example, we can cite the contamination of the infant milk of the Lactalis group in 2018, the problems with the production of the Boeing 737 in 2019 due to the complexity of the supply and logistics chains or the false advertising of the Volkswagen group. with the Diesel Gate.
In this context where value chains and ecosystems are becoming increasingly complex, it is crucial to regain consumer confidence. It is with this in mind that Blockchain technology can intervene in order to bring an increased level of transparency.
Overview of blockchain traceability projects
Among the sectors to which blockchain can bring real added value, we find for example that of luxury. LVMH, accompanied by ConsenSys and Microsoft, recently announced the launch of the Aura platform in order to respond to the problems of counterfeiting of the group’s products. The start-up Everledger, founded in 2015, allows the traceability of diamonds from the mine to its owner while recording all movements and intermediaries. The aim of this solution is to combat fraud and to be able to guarantee authenticity in this diamond market.
Traceability issues are also identified in maritime transport. The Maersk company, with its TradeLens solution, a shared infrastructure already counting more than a hundred players (carriers, ports, customs, logistics companies, etc.), should allow better flow of information and thus reduce transit and waiting. In this specific case, the Blockchain allows all players in the same value chain to have real-time access to the same truth about the state of a container.
The pharmaceutical industry also accuses many cases of use and of very high potential. In particular in the context of the fight against counterfeiting for medicines. Fraud constitutes a market of around 200 billion dollars per year and concerns in particular the African continent. Worse, according to the WHO, 700,000 human lives a year could be saved by eradicating this traffic. Chronicled is the company that in 2016 is tackling the problem with the Cryptoseal project.
Other projects in the aeronautics field are also being studied, both on aircraft production chains and on maintenance cycles.
The areas of intervention are therefore cross-industry and represent great potential for improving transparency towards the end consumer and operational excellence. This traceability method is currently in strong development in the food industry …
Blockchain in food traceability
While a new food scandal has just exploded in France a few weeks ago, no less than 800 Kg of meat from animals slaughtered fraudulently in Poland has been shipped to “nine French trading companies” .
In this context, the questions of transparency and traceability in the food chains come back to the fore and lead companies to intensify their efforts to find innovative solutions in order to respond to image risks would lead to customer losses.
This is how they turn more and more to the side of new technologies and in particular the Blockchain. Indeed, the projects using it are multiplying. Particularly in large retailers where products are registered using this IT infrastructure, which guarantees transparency across the entire production chain. This would have a positive impact on their sales, directly linked to the resulting level of confidence.
As a reminder, a so-called corporate blockchain (“with permissions”) is a distributed and secure transactional database, built by consensus, combined with a system of self-executed contracts (“? Smart contracts?”) Based on ‘business logic.
This infrastructure has two major advantages compared to traditional centralized databases.
? It guarantees the integrity and real-time traceability of data, allowing efficient and transparent collaboration between users,
? It automates and secures processes through the self-execution of contracts with efficiency gains.
Thanks to its properties, the blockchain offers competitive advantages by making it possible to work with its partners and customers in a more efficient and transparent manner. Automating tasks and streamlining business processes while enriching relationships of trust with third parties are crucial objectives for distributors.
This is the case for the American Walmart, which relies on the IBM Food Trust solution, developed on the basis of Hyperledger Fabric technology. Today, this consortium brings together suppliers such as Unilever and Nestlé as well as other distributors such as Carrefour.
In conclusion, Blockchain technology represents a real opportunity for companies. Indeed, the deployment of new IT infrastructures would simplify procedures and reduce logistics costs while improving communication and coordination between businesses.
Co-written with Maxime Jeantet and Marc Durand, from Kapalt, Hugo Rakotoarisoa and Laszlo Szabo, from SkillZ. Kapalt is a company that supports companies through the understanding and development of blockchain / DLT solutions. SkillZ proposes to make technology accessible to them with a blockchain as a service (BaaS) product.