Blockchain was originally developed in 2009 by Bitcoin inventor and cryptocurrency pioneer, Satoshi Nakamoto. Nakamoto came up with the concept of blockchain as a public, digital ledger to track the exchange of Bitcoins among those in its network. These transactions are saved in cryptographic blocks—hence where the technology gets its name. No one can alter any record of a transaction without changing all of the subsequent blocks. Any alteration requires consensus from the rest of the network. As a result, blockchain generates greater transparency and trust among all parties connected within the network.
Naturally, the financial and transactional history of the technology has led to its growing adoption in the banking industry. However, its secure and transparent nature has peaked interest from industries that have long been plagued by challenges in data silos, disconnects among disparate individuals and organizations, and the numerous movements of commodities among them. For instance, the healthcare industry has struggled with the proper sharing and storage of medical data and records. With countless patients, doctors’ offices, hospitals and insurance providers located around globe, there is high potential for error, fraud and lost records, which has created distrust among patients and healthcare providers. Blockchain technology can help rebuild that trust by storing medical records in a secure network that can only be accessed by the connected patients and authorized healthcare providers.
Likewise, the food and beverage industry has been challenged by an extensive supply chain, stretching from raw material and ingredient suppliers, production and food preparation sites, warehouses and distribution centers, transportation, and all the way down to the retail level—and back. With so many disparate links in the supply chain—often each one using its own systems to manage the processing and movement of goods—it makes it difficult to properly address many critical aspects of the food business. This includes meeting consumer demand, abiding by the FDA’s food compliance and handling regulations, mitigating food recalls, and managing the replenishment and shelf life of products.
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Blockchain, Meet Supply Chain