• Ann Lambrecht

Why bother about blockchain technology? Focus on the Product Transparency Use Cases!


In this blog I want to warn companies, interested in the use case, not to loose too much time and effort in the “blockchain” part, but focus on the use case and new collaboration models instead.


I am actively following the “product transparency movement” since the beginning, and certainly when it got a real boost with the introduction of blockchain as enabler of trusted data collaboration.


Blockchain is a new technology which is evolving in the usual way: different types of blockchains, different deployment models, technical restrictions, lack of standardization or market leadership, quite complex discussions only interesting for the blockchain ‘natives’, scalability restrictions, lack of blockchain skills with a business focus etc.


Most major IT companies have a blockchain offering and so, no doubt, this technology will mature and become available as a performant , scalable platform layer supporting multiple use cases.


But the good news is, that platforms are already emerging in the market, based on blockchain technology, but with a focus on supporting the use cases directly!


These platforms offer the following:

  • A Saas (Software as a Service) cloud platform model with affordable Pay per use prices

  • Focus on an industry and a target ecosystem

  • A standardized data model for supply chain data

  • Ecosystem collaboration functions: registering companies and users, implementing data ownership & governance, data posting and data extraction support functions , supporting the platform in multiple geographies and timezones , platform implementation services via Business Partners etc.

  • Specific functionality useful in a specific industry: e.g. freshness management in a fresh food supply chain

  • Specific functions and services on top of the IT and data services such as auditing services

  • Powered by one of more types of blockchain technology

Following example exist (certainly not exhaustive!):

  • Tradelens.com (traceability of shipping data)

  • IBM Food Trust (transparency in agrifood value chains) (https://www.ibm.com/nl-en/blockchain/solutions/food-trust

  • OriginTrail

  • Aura (recently announced by Microsoft and LVMH for Luxury Goods)

  • Global Traceabililty Solutions (timber and other specific supply chains)

  • Provenance.org ( impressive reference list in the UK market)

  • Esoptra.com, an Belgian-based data innovation platform , for any type of data traceability applications

  • Quifactum.com, focussing on luxury goods and making transparent the craftmanship of the people who contributed to these products

  • ….

So I would advise , to start implementing your pilot on one of these platforms instead. This will give following advantages:


- No long upfront investment in budget and schedule to implement “blockchain”

- You can make use of already existing data standards in the industry

- You can make use of the provided ecosystem collaboration functions

- You can make use of their experience in your industry


So, in other words, you can test your ideas at your business level, and you get the blockchain without any extract effort!

Later on, after some market experience, you can decide how open you want the platform to be, which geographical reach is needed, which partners to include etc. Only at that moment, you can re-evaluate the need to implement your own private transparency platform.


More questions? Help needed in the selection? Please contact me ! www.datafastlane.com