Retail Blockchain Deep Dive: Supply Chain

Omnichain Solutions in the News: Outside of payments, which is still mostly using cryptocurrencies rather than the underlying blockchain technology, the most active area for retail blockchain applications is in supply chain. On the surface this makes a lot of sense: supply chains depend heavily on cross-border situations where smart contracts could address current processes that are dependent on a lot of paperwork, letters of credit, escrow accounts, multiple currencies, and increasing governmental requirements around visibility into ports of origin, cargo contents, and general supply chain visibility.

Tackling some of these applications – especially smart contracts in the place of import documentation, or currency exchange – requires an enormous degree of coordination and cooperation, and sometimes with either large demanding parties (like the US Government for imports) or small parties that just aren’t tech savvy, let alone have regular access to the internet. It would be easy to think that this would be one of the harder areas to tackle because of these complications.

In fact, it has been easier than that. One, every party wants greater supply chain visibility. And solving that visibility is a core prerequisite to almost all of the other challenges that exist in supply chain today. What has been missing has been a neutral third party that still gives companies complete control over who can see their data (so that competitors don’t get access), along with the ability to revoke that access if relationships change, while also ensuring security that at a minimum provides immutability of data.

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