We live in an era of digital globalization. By this, we mean that the globalization process is evolving at the speed of digital, with constant enhancement and development of the industries all over the world. With all of the ongoing processes, the demand and the supply chain increase synchronically, meaning that the more tendency of digitalization and globalization is, the more is the demand for the specific items and activities.
During the past several years many enterprises, as well as startups, have been working on this issue, in order to make it as comprehensive as possible and to come up with the most efficient solution possible. Now, that the demand for sustainably produced goods is on the rise, the solution to the problem is vital. And it seems like the pioneers of this race shall have a significant advantage over their descendants in the long future.
The main questions still remain, whether the quality of the goods is really good, or is the product original. Were the rights of the workers violated, or are the providers trustworthy. All of these topics still remain open for discussion. As mentioned above, some companies have already started working on the matter, and one of the most outstanding startups is IBM, which has established various initiatives on its own and in collaboration with other companies and enterprises.
Solution Operation Process
In order to have a clearer understanding of what the goods’ quality has to do with the blockchain system, let’s define how it works. The system is pretty simple, yet very complex at the same time. Every merchant, or the trader or producer/provider of the product, be it fish, a diamond, or clothes, has to verify the origin of the product they deliver. They should be able to define the date of the production, the material, consistency and etc. The way in which such solutions operate is that they work to transpose physical supply chains – that is, the networks of producers, intermediaries, processors, auditors, certifiers, sellers, and customers – onto an online, blockchain-based platform in order to create a virtual registry of the provenance and trajectory of products.
The system does not only work for physical products, but for online products as well. This is another great opportunity to discover scammers and fraudsters, which is also one of the biggest problems brought along by the digitization process. Online trading is usually the biggest target for these types of companies, which is why extra care is always advised. This is when the user and the customer should be sure about the trustworthiness of the company. Yet, sometimes checking the license and the registration number is not enough to track the most experienced scammer companies. This is very common in the forex industry. The most recent example was when traders had difficulty verifying whether or not Roboforex is a scam or not when a group of interested people even addressed the regulators. The whole process led to the regulators checking the transaction histories, money flows, and various other procedures that were connected to the illegal payments. In this case, having the blockchain ID would have been a helping hand, everyone would simply check the background and the transaction information via scanning QR code.
One thing is for sure, the supply and demand chains should establish trust with the customers, with whom they often do not even speak the same language. The platform is designed to be very easy to navigate through both for the customers as well as for the providers. Through it, the users will only be able to record that they are entitled to see. But, before the new block of information is created, several more entities can control the accuracy of the data. Once the information is checked, it can not be altered by anyone. This way the registry grows in size constantly.
To have an example let’s take Walmart and bananas. Those people who produce bananas and deliver them to Walmart will have the obligation about their latest harvest of bananas, containing details such as size, color, date of harvest, and many other details. They will indicate everything in the block. The IBM platform is prototyping everything from Walmart. The information is then checked by several miners, and only after that approved for the block.
This is the whole new level of processing the data. Once those bananas are placed in a container, the container is given the ID and the QR code which can simply be scanned and contains all of the information by the provider. Then, once you go to Walmart or any other place where those bananas are sold, you can simply scan the ID and check all of the information regarding the product, being sure that the product is trustworthy and did not see any violation. The platform also eliminated human errors, making it even more trustworthy.
What is the other side of the coin?
Just like everything else, this platform has its negative sides as well. Nothing can be controlled fully, especially if anyone holds the monopoly in the industry over others. Then, the information provided by the providers can be initially fake, making the whole database process useless. The same can be said about De Beer, which is basically the biggest player in the market and can easily persuade providers to deliver the desired and not necessarily verified information to the clients.
While blockchain has definitely been recognized as one of the most trustworthy platforms, which ensures fair transactions among real-world strangers, what happens when the system is centralized. What if the institution that controls the blockchain-based platform and clients dictates and creates the rule of the game based on personal interest? Who to trust, that is the question.
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