Blockchain technology is spreading beyond cryptocurrency thanks to startups

Blockchain technology is spreading beyond cryptocurrency, in sectors closer to consumers, making use of its ability to ensure the authenticity of products or information.

Blockchain startup Input Output HK signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Ethiopia in May to explore the use of Cardano, a blockchain platform that the company is developing, to increase transparency in the country's coffee supply chain. IOHK also seeks to use blockchain technology to record land ownership in Africa, protecting the registration of data from manipulation.

In Asia, the company plans to apply the technology to trace the beef supply chain in Cambodia and Vietnam. Another startup using the Cardano platform, Emurgo Hong Kong, seeks to publish blockchain-based digital university certificates.

The technology, guaranteeing the verification of information, can prevent theft and falsification during the process of distributing documents, which has given rise to major corruption concerns, especially in developing countries, for many years.

Charles Hoskinson, the founder of IOHK and Cardano, told Nikkei Asian Review that the adoption of blockchain "creates a single global market enabling anyone to trade at a global scale, which is revolutionary." Cardano's native cryptocurrency is called ADA.

IOHK, in cooperation with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Ethiopia, seeks to deploy the new system in the market for coffee, the Sub-Saharan country's biggest export. It started a free class in Ethiopia to train up to 100 local developers, who will contribute to the project by the end of 2018.

Ethiopia, geographic home of the world's most popular coffee beans, Coffea arabica, produced 459,000 tons of coffee beans in 2017, according to the International Coffee Organization. It is the world's fifth-biggest coffee-producing country.

However, maintaining the quality of the beans has been a problem for decades, due to theft or other losses along supply chains involving numerous middlemen before the produce reaches the Ethiopia Commodity Exchange, where all the country's coffee is traded. The inability to know the origin of beans discourages buyers from paying high prices for them, limiting the return for local farmers.

The project aims to model the coffee supply chain as a blockchain, and provide digital markers at every stage to track the flow of beans. The beans start from local farms, are transported by multiple brokers to washing stations, and then to the centralized exchange, before finally reaching consumers in shops and cafes worldwide.

The trace data will be stored and shared by anyone concerned in the supply chain, preventing wrongdoing. The process ensures the origin and authenticity of the coffee, enabling farmers to increase their revenue and possibly helping them attract foreign investment.

The project also plans to put a QR code on coffee products, consumed in developed countries, so that consumers can also track the production process. The scheme is also expected to help advance fair trade aims. Nikkei Asian Review. Ας συνδεθούμε στο LinkedIn για να διαβάζετε πρώτοι τα άρθρα -->
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