Have you heard of the latest in food technology? It’s called a blockchain. One expert says that it could improve transparency in the food supply chain, resulting in superior quality and responsible farming practices.
( various people wonder what makes blockchain so special that it gets so much attention compared to other technologies.)
The global food supply chain is riddled with inefficiencies at all levels, from supply to consumer. Blockchain technology can help solve the major challenges that affect that supply chain and make it safer for the end-user, such as several opportunities for fraud and food poisoning outbreaks. Hence, by using blockchain to track food movements from farm to fork, we can increase transparency and traceability while reducing food waste.
The food supply chain is a complex network of producers, distributors, and consumers. The supply chain is susceptible to many risks such as contamination, fraud, food waste, and foodborne illnesses.
Blockchain technology can be used to track the movement of products along the supply chain. Blockchain enables transparency throughout the entire process and provides real-time information about where your food comes from and how it got to your plate.
Some benefits of using blockchain in the food supply chain include:
- Fraud prevention
Blockchain works by creating a permanent record of transactions (i.e., a block) that are shared with everyone on the network so they can be verified. Each transaction is linked with previous transactions, making it impossible to change or delete them without leaving a trace. In other words, the blockchain prevents tampering and fraud by recording all transactions in an encrypted format on a distributed ledger that’s visible to all participants in the network.
- Tracking provenance
One of the benefits of using blockchain in the food supply chain is tracking provenance. This means that you can see exactly where your food came from, and whether or not it was produced ethically and sustainably.
For example, if you buy a block of cheddar cheese, you can see that it has been made in a particular region by a certain farmer who treats their cows well and uses organic feed. You can also see that this farmer has not used any antibiotics or hormones in their cows.
- Food safety monitoring
It allows consumers to see where their food comes from (e.g., checking whether organic eggs come from free-range chickens).
The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) is working with IBM to track beef using blockchain technology. The goal is to keep track of where the beef comes from, who processed it, when it was processed and where it was shipped to.
The FSIS said that by using blockchain, they will be able to reduce foodborne illness by providing consumers with more information about their food.
- Lower costs through reduced paperwork
Blockchain makes transactions faster and more efficient by reducing the need for intermediaries such as banks or logistics companies.
In addition, Blockchain can help reduce costs by making it easier to track products through their entire life cycle — which means fewer mistakes or thefts, less spoilage and waste, reduced counterfeiting, and more efficient use of resources like energy or water.
Here are four technologies you should know about in the blockchain world:
Blockchain is the new buzzword in the technology world. In fact, it’s not just a buzzword anymore. It’s a way of doing business and creating value that is here to stay.
Bitcoin is the first application of blockchain technology, and it has been around since 2009. Bitcoin was created as open-source software by Satoshi Nakamoto, and it was designed to be used as a form of digital currency that could be exchanged online without using physical cash or credit cards.
Ethereum is another example of how blockchain can be applied to a variety of industries outside of digital currency. Ethereum allows developers to build decentralized applications (DApps) on top of its platform — similar to how developers build apps on top of Apple’s iOS operating system or Google’s Android operating system. These DApps are not controlled by any organization but are instead controlled by the public at large through consensus protocols that make sure no single person or group can take control over them (for more information about consensus protocols, read this article). DApps built on Ethereum include Augur and Golem Network Token (GNT).
Smart contracts are one of the technologies you should know about in the blockchain world. A smart contract is a computer program that runs on a blockchain network. It can be programmed to perform actions that are defined by its creator. These actions are typically related to financial transactions: sending funds from one account to another or releasing funds when certain conditions are met.
Smart contracts are not limited to financial transactions, however. They can contain any type of rules or code that defines their behavior. For example, they may be programmed to release information stored on them if certain conditions are met (e.g., release data when it receives confirmation from three different sources).
Digital identity is a way to verify the identity of an individual or entity using cryptography and blockchain technology. The concept of digital identity has been around since the early 90s, and it has been implemented in many different ways by different companies and organizations.
Digital identity can be used as a login mechanism for websites, social media platforms, and apps, as well as to authenticate financial transactions such as banking or payment processing. A centralized third party, like Facebook or Google, typically handles user authentication for all these services.
Blockchain gives consumers better visibility into how their food was produced, where it came from, and who grew it and transported it — all while making sure there is no tampering along the way. This helps build trust between brands and consumers by giving people peace of mind when buying something as important as food. It is a public ledger of all transactions that have ever been executed. It can be used to trace the origins of food products, from farm to table, and is being used by companies like IBM to tackle food fraud and contamination issues in the global supply chain.
The technology has many applications beyond cryptocurrency trading, including supply chain management and food safety — two areas where it could help combat fraud and improve trust between producers and consumers.
To sum up, The blockchain is a prime candidate to improve food traceability and safety. As the US Department of Agriculture noted in its National Strategy for Food Loss Reduction, “Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize the health, food services, and retail industries.” As more farms adopt blockchain, it will increase data access across the entire food supply chain. Ultimately this will empower consumers to make more informed decisions about where their food comes from.
There are many challenges in the food supply chain that require many different stakeholders to work together. This poses challenges, but could also result in a huge transformation if everyone adopts blockchain technology. Blockchain can be an effective solution as it encourages collaboration, transparency, and efficiency.