Walmart and IBM collaborate in Food Safety Alliance

The cooperation aims to apply blockchain technology for food traceability to support offline and online consumers
14 December 2017   11001

Walmart, JD.com, IBM and Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies announced today they will work together in a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance that will kick off with a collaboration designed to enhance food tracking, traceability and safety in China, to achieve greater transparency across the food supply chain.

This has traditionally been challenging due to complex and fragmented data sharing systems that are often paper-based and can be error-prone.

IBM will provide its IBM Blockchain Platform and expertise, while Tsinghua University will act as a technical advisor sharing its expertise in the key technologies and the China food safety ecosystem. IBM and Tsinghua will collaborate with Walmart and JD to develop, optimize and roll out the technology to suppliers and retailers. Companies that join the alliance will be able to share information using blockchain technology.

Blockchain holds incredible promise in delivering the transparency that is needed to help promote food safety across the whole supply chain. This is a fundamental reason why IBM believes so strongly in the impact this technology will have on business models.

 

Bridget van Kralingen
Senior vice president, IBM Industry Platforms

IBM, Walmart and Tsinghua University have piloted the use of blockchain to trace food items, including pork in China and mangoes in the U.S. and it showed that applying blockchain reduced the time it took to trace a package of mangoes from the farm to the store from days or weeks to two seconds.

Recently, we have reported that Cargill and Nestle were planning to implement blockchain in their production.

Bank of China Filed a Patent to Scale Blockchain Systems

Bank of China has filed a patent application for a process able to scale blockchain systems  
23 February 2018   56

According to a document released by China's State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) on February 23, the application was invented by Zhao Shuxiang and first submitted on September 28 last year.

The application states that instead of letting a new block store transactions from its previous one, a data compressing system could be used to pack transactions from multiple blocks into what the patent calls a "data block."

For example, when the system receives a request to compress transactions from block 1 to 1,000, it causes a new data block to be formed and temporarily hosted on a different storage system. Then, the system will run the packed data through a hash function with a hash value. After that, the compression system will attach labels in order to identify blocks on the blockchain.

With the use of the described method, the patent claims a reduction in the amount of the data stored in new blocks as transactions mount in a blockchain while ensuring that data from all previous transactions will still be tamper-proof and traceable.

At the moment, the patent in the review process.