Alibaba Trials Blockchain for Supply Chain Usage
The Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group has announced the trial use of blockchain to better monitor and manage its supply chains. The technology, which has been mentioned previously on the blog, is in this case being used to fight counterfeit food products. Alibaba has had its fair share of problems with counterfeits, with fake eggs, soy sauce and rice all being found for sale on its platforms.
Blockchain is being used to verify the genuine nature of foodstuffs, through the creation of “end-to-end supply-chain traceability and transparency to enhance consumer confidence and build a trusted environment for cross-border trade”, according to a joint statement between the four companies involved: Zealand Post, Australia Post, Blackmores (vitamin producer) and Fonterra (dairy co-operative).
The solution will work by authenticating, verifying, recording and tracking products throughout the manufacturing process in a blockchain-verified database. Unique QR codes will be placed on selected items packaging; once scanned they will link back to the database, showing the path of the item through the supply chain and therefore its authenticity.
If successful, the trial will likely spark more schemes from a whole range of suppliers and retailers that have an issue with counterfeit products, as it is estimated that counterfeit goods cost companies a quarter of a trillion pounds every year (1).
Find more information about the trial here.