Blockchain in Food Traceability
Blockchain is a transformational, paradigm-shifting technology impacting multiple industries. Starting in 2009 with the creation of Bitcoin, the applications of the technology have expanded to a wide range of use cases including food traceability (Abeyratne SA, Monfared RP, Int J Res Eng Technol 5:1–10, 2016). Described briefly, a blockchain is a decentralized, distributed ledger verified through consensus of the network (The Economist, The great chain of being sure about things. 2015). Due to the relative immaturity of the technology, it is difficult to predict how and in what ways it will transform the food sector, but it is clear that Blockchain will be a key technology for improving food traceability systems (Abeyratne SA, Monfared RP, Int J Res Eng Technol 5:1–10, 2016). More broadly, Blockchain is shifting how and what data is shared throughout the food supply chain, moving from siloed, opaque data traditionally held on paper or internal, centrally controlled databases to a more open, transparent system.
Food supply chains have unique challenges which make blockchain data architectures particularly attractive, such as disparate trading partners, hyper globalized supply chains, and unequal adoption of digital technology. The intention of this chapter is to briefly introduce the concept of blockchains and delineate use cases and advantages for food traceability, not to delve into technical computer science. Many traceability-related examples are drawn from current pilots and early implementations of blockchain in the food sector, which include seafood, produce, and meat/poultry.
KeywordsBlockchain Internet of things Ethereum Hyperledger Cryptology
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