Aiming to integrate more trust, security, simplicity and, principally, transparency in the movement of goods across trading zones, world-knowing companies, such as Walmart and International Business Machines, are employing blockchain technology to innovate on a tamper-proof system that digitizes track shipments processes and trade workflow, to get rid of frictions including costly taxes and point-to-point communications.
What has been expected is a new possibility for blockchain technology to solve several issues involving food industry, with the potential to make an easier path for trading – connecting suppliers, distributors, processors, regulators and so on. In spite of that, the scalability and integrity of data that gets stored on blockchain have concerned many of authorities in the market.
Nowadays, people are becoming more interest in knowing the origins of what they eat and buy. If a product is organic, non-GMO if it’s contaminated or where, how and by who it was produced. However, most of that information is not available by the companies due to the unpredictability of the of the way the product takes – they often pass by so many channels to get to our table that is almost impossible to get all those registers together. In fact, that’s a tall order to fill, but blockchain technology could help.
As all information about the traceability process will be distributed in a single tamper-resistant ledger and the information can only be updated through consensus, users from all around the world can view the necessary information in a trusted and scalable network. Besides, blockchain offers legitimacy once the information “written in rock “ can no longer be deleted and are available for whoever got interested in.
Likewise, the open-source collaborative technology will help to improve the function of traceability. What brings the control of illegal products, such as shark fins and tunas, and the possibility of frauds, which has caused headaches for governments, will potentially be reduced.
The delay of foreign transactions is another problem founded that can be solved by blockchain. Usually, cross-border payments take multiples steps and third parties to verify its legitimacy. This process can take from two to seven days to settle and ultimately, the customer has to pay for it. However, with blockchain, money transfers can happen directly between parties, instantly and without intermediaries. Its means more dynamicity and the end of expensive taxes.
Furthermore, Blockchain has the potential to preserve privacy while not placing overbearing constraints on information exchange. For example, food science companies would be able to share sensitive research data without having to decrypt it, preserving institutional and personal privacy. Therefore, developers are already working on new possibilities to make data privacy, user permission and scalability on blockchain systems more trustful. In fact, the food industry will only see the full benefits from shared blockchain database if they start looking for useful practices for tracking hardware and reporting processes
To sum up,
blockchain technology will improve trackability with
- The source of compromised food would be pinpointed, reducing illness and cost;
- Allowing you to look at all transactions in real-time – from the field to market;
- A possibility of looking up other relevant information such as animal’s date of birth, if vaccines or antibiotics were used and the location for where the livestock was harvested;
- Better product accuracy through traceability can reduce food fraud and prevent illegal market;
- More transparency of trades;
- Network to provide consensus for ledger replication;
- Highest levels of protection against tampering and misuse of data.
Above all, the importance of blockchain in the food sector comes from the possibility of recording the entire health cycle of livestock as well as organics. Additionally, the technology will isolate both beneficial activity and disease vector to particular oceanic locations, stalls, barns, pens and so on. And, to make it function reality, IoT and radio-frequencies, which can acquire data and input results would be used to upload to the blockchain.
Next steps are to invest in the development of software-hardware integration, increasing trust in traceability, sharing awareness and encouraging information and education about this new tool that promises to revolutionize the industrial market.