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SAP Developing Blockchain Logistics Solutions

SAP, a leader in enterprise-level software solutions, is looking to expand into the supply chain industry by applying blockchain technology to agricultural supply chains. Its farm-to-consumer program is working alongside companies such as Johnsonville, Naturipe Farms and Maple Leaf. SAP has also partnered up with the Swiss supply chain startup modum.io.

Issues and needs around the evolving global market

Currently, there is a global push towards improving the transportation of foods and goods around the world. As much as one-third of global fresh fruits and vegetables go to waste because their quality has diminished and is deemed no longer sale-worthy. Food can often be stuck in limbo in the supply chain due to documents being delayed or even lost. With a rapidly growing population and a push for a greener future, this has become simply unacceptable for the industry.

Alongside increasing profits by reducing waste, there is also a growing need for product details among consumers. Consumers are more conscious of products and are wanting to buy in confidence knowing that the item is part of fair-trade and has been ethically sourced. Almost 75% of respondents in a Nielsen global survey said that a brand’s country of origin was one of the most important factors compared with selection or choice, price, function, and quality. When it comes to food and beverages, local brands take precedence as spoilage is a primary factor, whereas for long-life products or other goods, consumers prefer global brands.

“For many categories, a global brand name is an indicator of quality, safety, and trustworthiness in emerging markets,” noted the report.

SAP among many in a movement towards blockchain logistics

SAP isn’t the first to explore blockchain logistics solutions. Mastercard is currently working on its Blockchain and Authorization Network which sets out to provide proof of provenance for goods with the ability to track items as they are created, transferred, purchased and resold, to prevent fraud. Recently, an Ethereum-based supply chain was used to track a Yellowfin tuna from the waters off Fiji to a conference where it was served as sushi. Samsung and IBM are already investing in blockchain solutions to manage shipping to streamline imports and exports.

SAP’s project lead, Torsten Zube, believes blockchain has the ability to update current food industry production models to a more streamlined, profitable iteration.

“If enterprises can access the complete version of product history,” he explained, “this could result in a shift from a central unilateral supplier-led production to a consumer demand-led supply organized by a consortium of peers.”

 

Image source: Flicker – William Murphy – Farmers’ Market Meeting House Square

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Physical Bitcoin Smart Banknotes Launched in Singapore

Singapore startup Tangem released its own version of a physical bitcoin banknote at a shopping centre in the city yesterday.

The banknotes are available in denominations of 0.01 BTC ($98) and 0.05 BTC ($485) at launch. Each note is a Samsung Semiconductor S3D350A chip which reportedly cost the Tangen $2 to manufacture. according to Cision PR Newswire, the Tangem Note is the first hardware storage solution with certification for its entire electronics and cryptography to Common Criteria EAL6+ and EMVCo security standards

Tangem co-founder Andre Pantyukhin is confident that the new notes are completely safe, maintaining that the chip, ‘addresses all known attack vectors on hardware and software levels” and the accompanying wallet is uncopiable.

The company’s headquarters are in Zug, Switzerland’s answer to Silicon Valley, home to over 200 blockchain companies and a global hub for cryptocurrency. Tangen says it has now has plans to distribute its notes globally, beginning with a first shipment of 10,000 production notes to prospective partners and distributors around the world for commercial pilots.

Pantyukhin comments that the notes have real advantages for the user and transfer of ownership is exactly like a fiat note in that as soon as the note is handed over, so is ownership, “Physically hand over the whole wallet together with the blockchain private key. No transaction fees, no need to await confirmation blockchain.” Each note will allow a user to instantly verify the validity of the assets by NFC via smartphone. He adds the company is continuing production with goal facilitating, “immediate, free and anonymous,” transactions for users.

According to Tangem’s press release the concept behind the notes was make the spending of crypto easier, “to radically improve the simplicity and security of acquiring, owning, and circulating cryptocurrencies for both sophisticated and incoming users.”

Although based in Switzerland and Singapore, Tangem manufactures in centres in South Korea and Southern China, Taiwan, Russia, and Israel.

 

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Samsung Investing in Blockchain Shipping Technologies

Samsung is joining a number of other companies in exploring the idea of using blockchain logistics to streamline global supply chains. It is reported that the tech giant has already begun developing a distributed ledger system to monitor international shipments.

Recently, IBM has teamed up with Danish shipping giant Maersk and India’s JM Baxi, in order to digitalize their import and export process with blockchain.

Energy is one of the most frequently traded resources and the implementation of a more efficient system has captivated market leaders. BP was testing a gas trading platform, while E.ON and Enel, have also experimented with similar energy trading platforms.

Sinochem, one of China’s main oil companies, used blockchain to monitor and store data on a shipment of gasoline to Singapore.

Issues surrounding current logistics

The top 20 exporters of containerized cargo transport a total of around  127.6 million fully-loaded TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent unit) globally a year. Countries with a higher level of human intervention can take up to 11 days to process logistics. OECD countries have managed to reduce this to about 9 hours but the process is still prone to human error.

Fraudulent goods are worth USD 1.4 trillion globally and tax avoidance continues to be an issue. Not only does this affect profits but health depending on the type of product and its use. There is a growing concern among consumers about imitations and problems with verifying the authenticity of a product.

Documentation can be held up or lost by middlemen, resulting in perishable goods being stuck in transit. This can end up costing up to a fifth of the total transportation costs as well as the price of the goods.

Benefits of blockchain logistics

Blockchain is set to help shippers, ports, customs offices and many other parties in the global supply chain by replacing paperwork with irrefutable digital records.

Blockchain could provide proof of provenance for goods by tracking them globally from the manufactures. Import details, fees, and taxes could all be programmed into smart contracts that release payments automatically once the conditions where met. Customers will see an improvement in services as the overall speed of the processes increase.  Tracking will include improved shipment data with timestamps and data being instantly accessible through a ledger.

Blockchain will benefit logistics by providing enhanced security and vendor management, as well as preventing the loss of goods.

 

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