This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Supply Chain Management series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and supply chain management.
In this interview we speak with Alan Pelz-Sharpe, co-Founder of Blocksyte, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the supply chain management business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Blocksyte. Why and how did you begin?
AP: The story behind Blocksyte is quite simple, we saw that there was much greater value in blockchain technology than its use for cryptocurrency. That value can be summarized as ‘a single version of the truth’. It’s a simple concept but revolutionary in any situation where trust changes hands throughout a process. Supply Chain is the most obvious application of blockchain, if everyone in the chain from supplier to retailer and all points in between have a shared version of the truth (documents – tracking details, etc) you can immediately improve costs, efficiency and in food you also gain immediate traceability, safety benefits.
2. Please describe your use case and how Blocksyte uses blockchain to transform supply chain management:
AP: We recently tested ourselves by running a very ambitious proof of concept that illustrates this well. We traveled to Asia and placed IOT sensors on a shipment of crab meat to the US, we also captured all the shipping documents on site (with a cellphone). The facility in Asia runs with clinical precision and meets the highest standards of hygiene and safety. However, once it is loaded onto a container and transported there is very little if any visibility as to how that shipment is treated on route, be that in a truck, a ship or warehouse before reaching its end point in the US. We were able to track every step of the way, from location to temperature. We provided a full audit trail of the shipment along with the documentation. Using blockchain we had an ‘immutable’ record that could be shared with every touch point. That has never happened before.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
AP: There are a number we could talk about but the simplest to understand is our Olive Oil customer. Caroli is a legendary olive oil producer from Puglia in the south of Italy, they produce one of the finest olive oils in the world. Yet they compete against adulterated oils, mislabelled and fraudulent oils. One study said that 69% of olive oil sold in the US is not the real deal. By using Blocksyte and blockchain technology, Caroli can prove without question where its olive oil comes from, that nothing happened to it from the olive grove to the shelf, that it is the real deal and that it should be priced and valued accordingly. It's a simple use case, but the benefits in such a messed up market are huge.
4. What other blockchain use cases in supply chain management are you excited about?
AP: We have focused on the food chain but it's clear that the same principles of blockchain, IOT and everything we do at Blocksyte are equally applicable in the burgeoning cannabis market as well as with pharmaceuticals and healthcare. Today we remain focused on food but there are many exciting use cases out there.
5. Where will Blocksyte be in 5 years?
AP: In five years, I believe Blocksyte will be seen as a pioneer in transforming the supply chain. Ironically, I hope many others follow in our footsteps as beyond the financial rewards and status I would like to achieve for our firm, there is a bigger picture that needs to be addressed. The supply chain today is dated, mired in paperwork mountains, running on thin margins with little visibility, traceability or accountability. The use of blockchain can help to change that for the better. The benefits are not just for Blocksyte but for retailers, suppliers, growers, shippers and most importantly consumers.