Supply chain management is proving to be one of the killer apps in blockchain. Many big companies have already started to implement distributed ledger technologies, so they can gain better visibility of their supply chains and product inventories. Walmart and Maersk are two examples of firms that have made the transition in 2018. Both companies have partnered with IBM for customized supply chain distributed ledger platforms. Together with their supply networks, these solutions allow them to establish a single source of truth that describes which goods are where, and with whom – all in real time.
However, these are early iterations of the technology. While they may offer business benefits such as reducing product shrinkage, customized permissioned ledgers have some disadvantages. They are private blockchains, meaning they miss the benefits of trustlessness provided by a genuinely decentralized blockchain ecosystem.
Furthermore, from a consumer standpoint, there is almost no benefit. Companies using private blockchains can still cover their supply chain tracks in the event of a safety scandal such as the recently reported Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder asbestos cover-up. The same applies if they are sourcing goods unsustainably or using unethical suppliers, as has been found in the case of many apparel retailers.
There is a new revolutionary new supply chain management solution that can solve consumer visibility and decentralization problems. Temco is launching an application that provides full end-to-end visibility of a products supply chain lifecycle which consumers can use too, and it’s based on the Bitcoin blockchain.
Temco uses smart contracts together with smart tags to track and trace a product from its beginning, all the way through until it’s finally delivered to the end consumer. Each participant in the supply chain can access the Temco platform using a simple app interface.
Temco in Action
Firstly, everyone except for the consumer will need to undergo a verification process initiated by Temco. Once verified, they can then start to participate in the supply chain process.
The platform is targeted at SMEs, so let’s imagine an online retailer that’s selling tea and coffee. The retailer is keen to give assurance that its products are sustainably and ethically sourced. To demonstrate this to consumers, the retailer, its fair-trade coffee supplier, and the shipping company all get verified as vendors on the Temco platform.
When the supplier has coffee beans to ship, they print off a QR code generated by the Temco app and attach it to the box of coffee beans. The shipping company scans the QR code using their Temco app, which triggers a smart contract transferring ownership of the coffee to the shipper. The retailer scans the QR code once they receive their shipment, confirming receipt.
When a consumer makes an order, the retailer can add another QR code to a single bag of coffee and ship it to the consumer informing them that the shipment was tracked using Temco. The consumer can download the app, scan the QR code and see for themselves the entire journey of their coffee. They can even leave a review of their experience so other users can see for themselves that a retailer’s supply chain network is verified and trustworthy.
Besides the consumer benefits, participants can also reduce the risk of product loss or theft during the shipping process because they can see in real-time where their shipments are located. Temco is also including temperature tracking technology integrated with IoT sensors, meaning that even perishable products are traceable. Vendors can also take advantage of the platforms data analytics to identify opportunities for improvement in supply chain efficiencies.
RSK Smart Contract Platform – Powered by Bitcoin
By itself, Bitcoin doesn’t offer the same smart contract functionality as distributed application (DApp) platforms like Ethereum or EOS. However, RSK has now changed all that. RSK was developed by a company called Rootstock. It’s a smart contract layer, with a main net that was launched in January 2018 as a side chain of the Bitcoin blockchain.
RSK has its own coin called Smart Bitcoin (SBTC) which is pegged to BTC. The Bitcoin blockchain can’t verify transactions on a side chain, so when a transaction happens, BTC is locked on the Bitcoin blockchain, and a corresponding amount of SBTC is released on the RSK sidechain.
Using RSK, developers can build smart contracts and applications using Solidity, the same programming language as Ethereum. While Bitcoin has come under fire for being slow with seven transactions per second, RSK can scale to more than fourteen times faster, around the same speed as the PayPal network.
Temco selected RSK as its development platform precisely because Bitcoin is the oldest, most reliable and most trusted blockchain network. It comes with a supportive community, and the introduction of Turing complete smart contracts provides scope for significant further growth. Using RSK means that Temco’s platform offers the full benefits of decentralization achieved by the Bitcoin blockchain.
The Temco platform is currently under development. A beta release, plus a business model for the luxury goods market are planned for 2019. The first round of the Temco token presale sold out in only two seconds, indicating the participated investors had a lot of faith in the need for a consumer-driven supply chain platform. Temco will be one of the projects to watch in 2019.
The author Payel Dutta
Happy soul, fond of travelling and loves to read tech columns.