After a fantastic article by my colleague Henrietta Baker on blockchain and the supply chain on last week*, Vladimir Collak took on a quick Q&A for Forbes on the broader subject. A really great oversight of the technology and some of its applications.
It is truly fascinating watching the emergence of this new technology. With such a broad application, there are so many potential benefits to adoption. If we look at the issues like those surrounding the authentication of blood diamonds and the horsemeat scandal we can see how blockchain can be beneficial in the supply chain. It is claimed that uptake could shed light on/resolve these matters in as little as 2.2 seconds! Vladimir uses the example of the 2006 E. coli outbreak in America to really bring this point home. Do companies want to continue to risk instances like these happening again?
Unfortunately it is not quite that simple, though. For the technology to really work you want everyone in your supply line to participate. Walmart plan to sell leafy greens that are tracked using an IBM blockchain called 'IBM Foodtrust Network' in the next year. In a recent press release, Walmart told its suppliers for leafy green produce to integrate the blockchain-based tracking system by September 2019. As the largest retailer in the world by both revenue and employee count, Walmart find themselves in a position where they can influence those in their supply chain. Other, smaller companies are likely to encounter difficulties.
These articles have been getting me really excited for our blockchain panel event tomorrow! If you would like to attend, please get in touch.
With the use of blockchain, Walmart can now trace the source of food in seconds as opposed to a week.