It’s been 11 years since the initial mining of blockchain’s first use case, bitcoin. Since then, both sides of the spectrum have argued: what will be the next massive use case that impacts not only a group of people, but also a global audience?
The original intended use of the blockchain was to power currencies like bitcoin—a way to store and exchange value much like any other currency. Now, it’s broken away from being known as just as “currency technology” to a digital ledger synonymous with transparency. Blockchain records information on a digital ledger that prohibits its data from being removed, duplicated or edited. It’s transparent, time-stamped and decentralized.
So, what will be the next massive blockchain use case that strays away from cryptocurrency? Well, food seems to be the obvious next choice.
Consumers want to make better food choices and expect both the seller and the product manufacturer to instill that transparency. Apply blockchain and it seems there may be an easy fix, right? For example, consider a consumer purchasing an apple from their go-to grocery store. Before purchasing, a consumer can scan an item’s barcode that would share how that particular apple was grown, where it was grown and where and when it was stored before arriving on the shelf. Although it sounds promising, it’s something that can’t be done overnight. It also raises the question: how much or how little should be shared with the consumer?
Companies are already jumping on this idea. In fact, 84% of companies are already dabbling in blockchain. For example, IBM’s Food Trust platform has been a major supporter of blockchain technology partnering with companies such as:
- Dole Food Company Inc. to create a smarter, safer food supply by unlocking the value of compliance data across suppliers and partners in a cost-effective way; and they’re promoting this transparency within their advertising campaigns
- Raw Seafoods to help improve seafood traceability and sustainability in efforts to help reduce fraud
- DeltaTrak to facilitate more efficient and effective collaboration with its supply chain partners, enabling them to upload critical data to the blockchain, in order to comply with customers
Even Nestle is exploring this technology by partnering with blockchain platform OpenSC to give “anyone, anywhere access to independently verifiable substantiality and supply chain data.”
Time will tell if blockchain will be trusted by everyone who touches the supply chain down to the consumer. As much as businesses will want to explore these advancements, there will surely be some exploration mixed with trial and error.
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