5 Examples of Blockchain in the Supply Chain

Partnerships within supply chain are popping up here, there and everywhere. With ever-increasing speculations that blockchain is moving beyond finance and the market for investing and buying cryptocurrency, this seems like perfect timing, too. Moving on from finance, logistics may be the next industry for blockchain to disrupt.


As an example, IBM recently announced a partnership with KPMG, Merck and Walmart. Their mission is to come up with a solution for tracking certain drugs as they move through the supply chain. The four companies make up an amazing blockchain team. IBM provides the blockchain solution, while KPMG brings a deep understanding of compliance issues. Merck is, of course, the drug company, and finally, Walmart acts as the distributor. 


Aside from this, there are a wealth of other examples where blockchain is disrupting supply chains for the better. Here are some industries where blockchain is expected to bring transparency and improve supply chain management.


1. Blockchain and Oil Supply

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) – the United Arab Emirate’s state-owned oil company – has been collaborating with IBM too. Together, they have successfully launched a blockchain supply chain pilot program. The program will help to track oil from well to customers, recording transactions every step of the way.


Even though the program is still in its early stages, ADNOC aims to expand the chain to include customers and investors. This will bring more transparency to its business process. Abu Dhabi’s oil company produces about 3 million barrels of oil a day. Therefore, introducing blockchain technology to their supply chain management will ease the process of reporting the amount of oil produced. In addition, it will also reduce the time and shipping costs.



2. Blockchain and Diamond Supply

There is a huge problem in the diamonds industry when it comes to the working conditions under which they are extracted. Most of the times, diamonds are mined under violent circumstances or in unsuitable conditions. The biggest producers are, of course, in Africa. In the continent, sales of diamonds often serve for funding various conflicts in the region. On the bright side, De Beers, the world’s largest diamond producer, wants to put an end to this with the help of a blockchain supply chain program.


Their program, Tracr, successfully tracked 100 diamonds from mine trough the cutter and polisher, up to the jeweler. In this program, actors in the blockchain upload photos and information regarding the color, quality and location of a processed diamond. More importantly, introducing Tracr to the diamond industry can prevent illegal actions when mining for diamonds all over the world.



3. Blockchain and Food Supply

Interestingly, it seems like every year there is a new epidemic outburst concerning food supplies. Because it takes time to locate the origin of the disease, many retailers need to throw out entire inventories. However, Walmart, IBM, JD.com and Tsinghua University are coming to the rescue. With their blockchain technology, they want to bring more transparency and shipment efficiency to the food industry.


While Walmart and JD.com handle the shipment and production processes, IBM and Tsinghua University are responsible for the research and maintenance of the blockchain. With the progression of the project, other big companies like Nestle, Unilever, and Tyson Foods are expected to jump in.



4. Blockchain and Fashion Supply

Fashion designer Martine Jarlgaard together with Provenance are campaigning for more transparency in the fashion industry. As a result, in 2017 at a Danish fashion show, they demonstrated their first ever apparel tracked with blockchain. The aim is for customers to be able to track every aspect of a garment’s life. In this way, blockchain will ensure that the purchased clothing is legitimate and produced in factories that do not violate the employees’ working conditions.



5. Blockchain and Wine Supply

When it comes to the wine industry, China alone sells nearly 30,000 bottles of illegitimate wine every hour. Many of these wines comprise of additives that can be dangerous to consumers’ health. To solve this, Origintrail and TagItSmart created their blockchain solution. The two companies managed to track more than 15,000 unique wine bottles with the pilot version of their program. They aim to stop the production of illegitimate wine with the help of QR codes. In this way, customers will be able to scan the code on the bottle and receive all the information of their purchase.



Blockchain and other logistics initiatives

Not surprisingly, there is a blockchain solution for the agricultural sector, as well. Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC), one of the world’s largest food traders, together with Dutch and French banks, executed the first blockchain-based agricultural commodity trade. The companies sold a cargo of U.S. soybeans to a retailer located in China. The reduced costs and time for the documentation of the transaction speak for the success of the project.



What’s more, blockchain can help people track their parcels in real time. That was made possible by Kuehne & Nagel (K&G), the biggest global sea freight forwarder in the world, and VeChain.




The beer industry wasn’t left behind, either. For example, BanQu partnered with Anheuser-Busch InBev in Zambia to help the local cassava farmers. The blockchain solution, which they are offering, tracks the lifespan of the crop. In this way, small farmers are able to compete on a larger scale and expand economically.



The Kenyan trade coffee company, Kahawa 1893 together with Bext 360 are defending the economic equality for women in the coffee production chain. Bext 360’s provides Kahawa 1893 with a blockchain solution which facilitates payments for women coffee producers in Kenya, tracks production and establishes environmental goals.



Blockchain has very significant and innovative implications for the real estate industry as well. While you can always go the traditional way and work with brokerage firms, blockchain brings transaction transparency, eliminates large brokerage fees, and improves security. Fractional investments (e.g. real estate crowdfunding) are also enabled by blockchain technology and allows smaller investors to participate in the asset acquisition. For example, Estati is using blockchain technology for direct investments as well as crowdfunding for properties in Dubai and internationally (not to mention the use of AI to predict the yield).


Will blockchain come to your industry?

To answer the question, most likely yes! That’s why you should act on it and embrace possible blockchain solutions, before it disrupts your industry, the way it happened with the financial sector. After all, blockchain is there to help you improve your productivity, bring transparency to your business process and boost the trust of your customers.

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