Industrial Blockchain helps “Frenemies” Collaborate

By Ralph Rio

Technology Trends

Blockchain is Proven Technology and Ready for Industrial Applications

The underlying technology enabling Bitcoin, which has been around for about 10 years, is blockchain.  This technology is now being applied in the industrial spaces.  Industrial blockchain has three prime functions:

  • Identify an asset
  • Determine ownership
  • Document the transfer of ownership

Blockchain makes the data immutable and trustworthy with multiple layers of cryptology, and multiple copies of the database are distributed among participating members.  If someone tries to edit one database to add fake information, blockchain’s governance will identify it and purge it.

With advanced cryptology, governance, and distributed copies of the database, the data cannot be changed.  If somebody enters false information, that data is part of the permanent record and will eventually be exposed.

Industrial Blockchain Applications

Industrial blockchain is typically used in a consortium of independent companies where sharing data helps each one of the businesses improve its performance.  Everybody invests by adding software to make transactions to the blockchain, and everyone benefits.  

In the industrial space, the consortium invites a business to join a consortium, and members are approved.  After a consortium reaches critical mass, members will have good business reasons to engage with other members.  Those who exhibit bad behavior will be removed from the consortium and suffer revenue losses.

Industrial Blockchain in the Food and Beverage Supply Chain

A good example is the food and beverage supply chain.  Cooking food kills bacteria that could be a health risk.  However, fresh produce, such as fruits and vegetables, are eaten raw.  Any bacteria, like salmonella, on these items will make people sick.  In 2019, where was a case where 100 people got sick, 70 went to a doctor's office, 30 went to a hospital, but no one died.  That was among a population of over a 100 million.  The 100 people out of a 100 million is just one out of a million.  With today's analytics, the FDA was able to identify the health risk and drive a recall.  You may feel a better knowing that their food is safer.  However, this can be alarming to those in the food distribution industry.  The typical cost of a recall of contaminated food is $10 million – not including damage to the brand.  With blockchain, the distributor can identify the source of the bad product and narrow the recall to just those items – significantly reducing the cost.

Industrial Blockchain Adoption

The major application of industrial blockchain is enabling a consortium of independent entities who, by sharing immutable and trusted data, can improve their operational performance.  These are specific applications, mostly in supply chain, whether it be international trade, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, mining, aerospace, and more.  Many consortiums using industrial blockchain have reached critical mass and will continue to provide benefits to its members. 


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