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Brazilian Coffee Farming Cooperative to Issue a Coffee-Backed Token

Brazilian coffee farming cooperative Minasul plans to issue a coffee-backed token.

Brazilian coffee farming cooperative Minasul plans to issue a coffee-backed token, Bloomberg reported on July 11.

According to Bloomberg, Minasul’s president Jose Marcos Magalhaes declared at the Global Coffee Forum in Campinas that Minasul intends to launch the token this month. Farmers will reportedly be able to use the coin to buy fertilizer, machinery and other non-farm products — including cars and food — in a digital marketplace.

Per the report, farmers will also be able to acquire the token in exchange for current and future coffee beans production: 30% of the current harvest, 20% of the next crop, and 10% of the following season are eligible for exchange. Magalhaes allegedly explained that such a financing mechanism will reduce operating costs for both the cooperative and the farmers, since it won’t require registration through a notary’s office.

The project is part of a broader digitization effort by the Minasul cooperative, which is also looking to allow farmers to sell their harvest directly from their smartphones. Lastly, Bloomberg claims that Minasul, based in the state of Minas Gerais, is one of Brazil’s largest arabica-coffee cooperatives, Brazil being the world’s single largest coffee exporter.

As Cointelegraph reported in June, Microsoft has registered a suite of applications in Brazil that are designed to improve efficiency in the agriculture sector.

Earlier this month, Decentralized insuretech firm Etherisc launched a blockchain-based insurance platform for farmers in Sri Lanka.

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Blockchain for the Food, How Industry Makes Use of the Technology

The food industry is becoming one of the most inclusive destinations for blockchain.

As blockchain continues to push for mass adoption, the food and beverage industry is shaping up to be one of the most inclusive destinations for the technology: Just over the past few months, a variety of players — including juggernauts like Nestlé, Carrefour and Starbucks — have reported on their latest blockchain-powered initiatives within the field. 

Indeed, in 2019, blockchain has been piercing the food industry at an accelerated pace. According to recent research, 20% of the top-10 global grocers will use blockchain by 2025. So, what makes the technology so appealing for the food industry participants, and are there any obstacles that can be a hurdle to potential adoption?

Empowering customers with more data and tracking food illness

There are at least two essential problems in the food industry that blockchain has been presumed to solve. First, the trust issue: According to a 2018 study released by the United States-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI), the public demand for transparency is growing within the market. Essentially, customers are becoming more health-conscious and want to know as much as possible about the food they get.

Specifically, the report found that as much as 75% of consumers are more likely to switch to a brand that provides more in-depth product information — beyond what’s provided on the physical label. When shoppers were asked the same question in 2016 in a similar study conducted by Label Insight, just 39% declared they would switch brands. Blockchain, being an easily accessible, immutable distributed ledger by design, seems to be the go-to solution for that case, as it can provide consumers with concrete, immutable data about their food. Matron Ven, the chief marketing officer at blockchain-powered farm-to-table food traceability solution company Te-Food, told Cointelegraph:

“Food companies implement traceability because they see that the consumers require transparency and credibility. Blockchain’s immutability helps them to prove that the information the different supply chain companies provide is uncorrupted.”

Traceability is not just the customer’s whim, however, but a crucial component for the industry at large, in which investigations into foodborne illnesses require extra swiftness to prevent human loss. Rachel Gabato, the chief operating officer at Ripe.io, a San Francisco-based blockchain startup working with the food supply chain, told Cointelegraph:

“One of the primary drivers for food providers to consider blockchain technology is the ability of the technology to collect data from various sources and create a single view of the transactionю This plays an important role in the ability to track the food product back to its origin driving more efficiency when a food safety issue arises.”

For instance, in 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigated a fatal Salmonella outbreak linked to papayas imported from a Mexican farm. In order to allocate the disease’s original source, the agency conducted over a hundred interviews and studied various mango samples in lab conditions. Blockchain can reduce the process of finding the responsible supplier to seconds: By using the technology, stakeholders can track the corrupt harvest of mangoes from a particular farm and then surgically remove it from the supply chain. 

Related: From South Korea to IBM Food Trust — How Blockchain Is Used in the Food Industry

Indeed, as the food industry entails numerous participants — farmers, vendors, retailers, customers, etc. — within the supply chain, the process of tracking goods from farm-to-table is notably complex. Consequently, the very idea of having a blockchain encourages suppliers and retailers to get their data straight, says John G. Keog, a research associate at Henley Business School and University of Reading, who co-authored an academic article on the topic. He told Cointelegraph: 

“A key benefit not discussed is the fact that data needs to be cleansed, structured and verified before it goes onto a Blockchain. This is one of the key benefits and in the use cases I have examined closely, 75% of the effort was in fixing the data.”

IBM’s blockchain solution continues to dominate the field

The most mainstream and adopted blockchain tracking solution within the field is IBM’s Food Trust, which is based on the Hyperledger Fabric blockchain protocol. With the first product trials spearheaded by Walmart in China in December 2016, Big Blue’s food-tracking ecosystem has since amassed numerous industry giants, including Carrefour, Nestle, Dole Food, Kroger and Unilever. The platform officially went live in October 2018. According to IBM, during the testing period, “millions of individual food products” were tracked by retailers and suppliers using the Food Trust blockchain.

In 2019, the tech behemoth will continue to recruit participants for its blockchain traceability program, as revealed by Nestle S.A. So far this year, Big Blue has already signed Albertsons Companies, a leading food and drug retailer in the U.S. At first, the retailer will use the Food Trust initiative to track the supply chain for romaine lettuce, but it aims to branch out into other products in the future.

Additionally, it has been reported that the U.S. seafood trade association National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is now working with IBM’s Food Trust to trace seafood. Purportedly, this is the first effort to track multiple seafood species, an initiative jointly pursued by multiple companies. Just a couple of months prior to that, North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood firm, Bumble Bee Foods, launched a blockchain platform for seafood traceability in collaboration with German tech company SAP. Based on the SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain service, the new platform can purportedly monitor the supply chain of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia to end customers.

Meanwhile, earlier Food Trust members have been expanding the scale of IBM blockchain’s application this year. For instance, in April, Nestlé and French retail giant Carrefour reportedly started using the technology to track the supply chain of Mousline, a well-known brand of instant mashed potatoes. As per the initiative, customers are able to scan a QR-code with their smartphones to know exactly where the potatoes in a specific packet came from, as well as their journey to the exact Carrefour store.

New blockchain-based food traceability tools continue to emerge

Additionally, in March, Carrefour introduced its own blockchain-powered solution for tracking milk, called Carrefour Quality Line (CQL). CQL is reported to guarantee consumers complete product traceability across the entire supply chain — from farmers’ fields to the store shelves. As per the press release, consumers will get access to meticulous information, including GPS coordinates of the farmers producing the milk, details on when it was collected and packaged, as well as the list of stakeholders involved in the product line. Other notable blockchain initiatives happening within the food industry this year include the U.S. National Pork Board partnering with Ripe.io to test out a blockchain platform for pork supply chains. The company’s representative told Cointelegraph of the initiative:

“The ripe.io platform will enable the NPB ecosystem of pork producers to monitor, evaluate and continuously improve their sustainability practices based on six defined ethical principles guiding the U.S. pork industry. These principles provide industry standards in food safety and public health, animal well-being, protecting the environment, and improving the quality of life for the industry’s people and communities.”

Further, in the beginning of 2019, World Wildlife Fund-Australia (WWF-Australia) and global corporate venture BCG Digital Ventures (BCGDV) jointly launched a blockchain-powered supply chain tool dubbed OpenSC. The system reportedly allows both businesses to track products they produce, as well as consumers to view the origins of said products via a “unique blockchain code at the product’s point of origin.” 

In July, Nestlé joined OpenSC for an initial pilot program that will trace milk from farms and producers in New Zealand to the firm’s factories and warehouses in the Middle East. The aim of the pilot project is to find out whether the system is scalable. Furthermore, the company is considering tracking palm oil sourced in the American Continent. 

Alcohol and coffee: Blockchain is being applied to more niches

Blockchain has been picking up pace within the alcohol and beverage industry as well. In March, news surfaced that premium scotch whisky brand Ailsa Bay is going to release what it believes to be the world’s first scotch whisky tracked with a blockchain-based system, while later in May, the Big Four audit firm E&Y announced its proprietary blockchain solution for a major new platform that helps consumers across Asia determine the quality, provenance and authenticity of imported European wines. 

Finally, Starbucks has unveiled more details regarding its “bean to cup” initiative. In May, it was reported that the coffeehouse chain will implement tech giant Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain Service to track the production of it’s coffee and allegedly provide coffee farmers from Rwanda, Colombia and Costa Rica with more financial independence.

China’s food industry has now co-signed the technology

Interestingly, China’s food and beverage industry — which posted a record high of 4.27 trillion yuan (a whopping $620 billion) in revenue in 2018, and in so becoming the largest in the world — is also increasingly interested in blockchain. In January, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party reported that the Food and Drug Administration of the Chinese Chongqing Yuzhong District is going to apply blockchain to strengthen the supervision of food and drug quality assurance with better traceability of the product life-cycle and anti-counterfeiting measures. 

Additionally, Walmart China also has revealed big plans for blockchain. In June, the company announced it was going to track food through its supply chain using VeChain’s Thor blockchain. According to the press release, the Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform (WCBTP) will be a joint venture by Walmart China, VeChain, PwC, cattle company Inner Mongolia Kerchin and the China Chain-Store & Franchise Association. 

So far, Walmart China has revealed 23 product lines that the system will track and plans to release another 100 products for further inclusion, covering more than 10 product categories. Notably, the company expects that tracked sales will be significant in volume. The official statement reads:

“It is expected that the Walmart China’s traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.”

In the neighbouring Vietnam, Te-Food has recently implemented blockchain-based traceability at Vinamilk, one of the largest dairy companies in Southeast Asia, with $2.2 billion in yearly revenue. Together, they will track a new infant formula product called Vinamilk Organic Gold.

Other solutions focus on food safety

Some tech companies have been applying blockchain particularly in the context of food safety instead forgoing large retailer sin setting up supply chain management. Thus, in April, Swiss food technology giant Bühler introduced two “blockchain-ready” products: Laatu, a tool aiming to reduce microbial contamination in dry goods, and Tubex Pro, a scale system that self-optimizes and produces a constant flow of production data. Both solutions are connected to the Bühler Insights Internet of Things (IoT) service, hosted on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

According to Bühler, their Laatu product is able to destroy over 99.999%of salmonella while maintaining the quality nutritional value of food by exposing dry foods to low-energy electrons. As the press release states, “With a potential link to blockchain, it [Laatu] is capable of providing an accurate and secure audit trail for food producers and all players in the supply-chain.” Further, in June, a nonprofit blockchain organization Iota Foundation teamed up with digital food safety management firm Primority to track food allergens with blockchain. 

Related: 10 Things to Track With Blockchain

As Iota has specified in the announcement, the collaboration aims to reduce risks associated with potentially fatal food allergens, targeting 220 million people worldwide. Specifically, it includes the development of an application that would enable consumers to check a vast variety of foods for allergens, considering that “small traces of an allergen can then appear in the food which was supposed to be allergens free,” as the nonprofit puts it. 

The application will reportedly allow consumers to access a number of details about food products by scanning a barcode on the app. The shared information would include tracking of raw materials used and their suppliers, as well as a review of food production processes. As Iota stressed in the announcement, consumers will be able to access the data “without sharing any personal, sensitive information, and without owning any cryptocurrency.”

Potential hurdles on the way: data-related issues and interoperability problems

However, blockchain adoption within the food industry has its own limitations — at least for now. First, there is no guarantee that the data that suppliers initially enter into blockchain is reliable in the first place — although the technology allows for the prevention of tampering and falsification at later stages in the supply chain. Thus, if a supplier has a reliable in-house system ensuring that its food is attributed correctly when released to vendors, a blockchain can ensure that this data remains immutable. 

However, there is a catch, as Keog pointed out, “Things go wrong in food chains and the need to correct a record is a reality hence we need more research and discussion on the value and need for ‘mutable’ Blockchains.” Further, in most cases, data is difficult to obtain and digitize due to abundance of various setups used by suppliers, says Gabor of Ripe.io. She told Cointelegraph: 

“As we have engaged with farmers in the food areas of dairy, meat, produce, citrus, commodities, a primary challenge is the access and availability of data. Farmers capture data in many different forms and the ability to digitize this data for capture and sharing has been our primary challenge.”

“The main challenges of implementations are not blockchain related,” confirms Marton Ven from Te-Food. “It’s a common misbelief, that farm-to-table traceability in centralized format is already an existing method, and we just need to replace it with blockchain based solutions. The reality is that traceability throughout food supply chains is non-existent yet, except for a few examples.” He then elaborated:

“The hardest obstacle comes from collecting data from a large number of different companies. In the recent decades, supply chains have become global, sometimes incorporating hundreds of companies from different countries, with different technological maturity, using different identification methodologies. Keeping the data integrity — which is the backbone of traceability — requires all of them to actively cooperate on what data to collect, how to capture the data, and how to compile the information into meaningful product data, which the consumers can read.”

Interoperability is another hurdle that is important to deal with, according to Keog. However, if blockchain solutions become compliant with the existing GS1 standards — which the food industry have been largely relying upon to format data for shared communications across supply chains before the technology’s arrival — it might be much easier to overcome the obstacles. He added:

“In this context, a Blockchain should be viewed as an outcome of a configuration of multiple technologies, tools and methods and hence interoperability is a critical component. The Blockchain solutions using the GS1 standards for product identification, company identification, location identification and the joint GS1/ISO interoperability standards called Electronic Product Code Information System (EPICS) will excel in this space.”

In the academic’s view, blockchain is not a traceability solution, but a record-keeper that can be used by a traceability platform as a trusted data source. Consequently, the state of supply chains within food industry will largely depend on how these blockchain solutions are applied: 

“Wal-Mart’s strategy with a single platform from IBM Food Trust is an example of both progress and a hurdle at the same time. […] I would have preferred to see Wal-Mart providing a Blockchain enabled, standards-based platform and then their hundreds of suppliers who will use dozens of Blockchain solutions being able to connect and share standards-based data (GS1) seamlessly. Having a vendor lock-in is counterintuitive in the evolving Blockchain world.”

“As traceability throughout food supply chains barely exists worldwide, blockchain has a good chance to become the de facto standard technology for it,” agreed Ven. “But to provide global solution, other standards have to be applied as well, like GS1 standards for identification and event structure.”

Thus, as more retailers and suppliers are joining forces with blockchain companies, the idea of adopting the technology is perceived as more tenable within the food industry. As the experts have stressed, blockchain adoption within the field is not so much about figuring out the technology as the lack of proper data analysis in the first place. Ven told Cointelegraph: 

“We haven’t ever met any food company which refused to use blockchain. Although solution providers have to put in a lot of education effort, food companies are open to the idea of using blockchain. Certainly the media hype around blockchain helps this effort, but 90% of the implementation challenges are not blockchain related ones.”

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Oracle and World Bee Project to Track Honey Sustainability on Blockchain

Oracle has announced that it is continuing its partnership with the World Bee Project to track honey sustainability through the supply chain.

Tech giant Oracle and the World Bee Project are developing a blockchain-based sustainability assurance system for honey on the supply chain, according to a report by Ledger Insights on July 5.

The honey-tracing blockchain will reportedly be developed on the Oracle Blockchain Platform. According to the report, this partnership aims to launch a “BeeMark” label, which is a purported guarantee that so-labeled honey comes from ecological and sustainable sources. 

In addition to blockchain technology, BeeMark also plans to make use of data science to monitor environmental factors pertaining to the bees’ surroundings. Oracle also plans to install monitoring systems inside beehives globally, in order to track bee behavior and health. 

Oracle apparently has worked with WBP in the past to develop a blockchain-based solution that certifies honey as genuine. As per the report, this solution tracks information uploaded to the Oracle Blockchain Platform in order to ping modifications to honey along the supply chain.

In addition to the aforementioned benefits of supply chain tracking, the report notes that Oracle and WBP ultimately aim to research population decline in bees using these blockchain collaborations. As per the report, bee decline poses a risk for the future of agriculture.

As previously reported by Cointelegraph, food retail giant Nestlé has partnered with the blockchain platform OpenSC to implement supply chain tracking. Nestlé also partnered with IBM’s blockchain network Food Trust in April, another blockchain-based produce tracking initiative.

Walmart China also recently unveiled a partnership with VeChain to track produce via the latter’s Thor blockchain. According to VeChain, a significant portion of Walmart China’s produce will now be tracked:

“It is expected that the Walmart China’s traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.”

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Brimhall Foods to Deliver Products Through Blockchain-based Ordering System

Snack food company Brimhall Foods is planning to distribute 15 of its products via the SurgePays blockchain network.

United States-based snack food company Brimhall Foods has partnered with Surge Holdings to deliver its BRIM’S products through a blockchain-based ordering system, according to a report by Foodprocessing-technology.com on June 27.

According to the report, BRIM will be able to use the SurgePays blockchain network to access tens of thousands of new stores.

Surge Holdings CEO Brian Cox says that BRIM will initially offer 15 products through its SurgePays blockchain network. Additionally, Cox remarks that these products can be ordered and replenished by their in-network convenience stores, corner markets, and bodegas.

Additionally, Brimhall Foods Company president Terry Brimhall stated that the partnership will allow Brimhall to gain access to “tens of thousands of additional retail locations” without needing to expand its sales team and distribution network.

Surge Holdings is a company that offers the use of its blockchain network to retailers, who can then use the system to purchase products from companies partnered with Surge. Surge intends to be a “virtual distribution hub” that offers “seamless access to global products.”

Many retailers are deploying blockchain technologies to expand their distribution networks. As reported by Cointelegraph earlier this week, Walmart China recently partnered with VeChain to use its blockchain technology to track Walmart produce. According to VeChain’s press release:

“It is expected that the Walmart China’s traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.”

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Walmart China Will Track Food in Supply Chain with Vechain’s Thor Blockchain

Walmart China will track food move in its supply chain with Vechain’s Thor blockchain.

Walmart China plans to track food through its supply chain with VeChain’s Thor blockchain, reveals a VeChain press release published on June 25.

Per the release, the Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform (WCBTP) will be a joint venture by Walmart China, VeChain, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), cattle company Inner Mongolia Kerchin, and the China Chain-Store & Franchise Association. WCBTP has been reportedly announced at the 2019 China Products Safety Publicity Week Traceability System Construction Seminar jointly organized by Walmart China and the CCFA in Beijing.

Walmart China already revealed 23 product lines that the system will track and plans to release another 100 products for further inclusion, covering more than 10 product categories. The press release claims that the company expects that tracked sales will be significant in volume:

“It is expected that the Walmart China’s traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.”

VeChain is among the companies on the list of the first 197 companies that China’s cyberspace administration authorized as registered blockchain service providers, released in April.

As Cointelegraph recently reported, Walmart is no stranger to distributed ledger technology (DLT). Back in October 2016, the company began collaborating with IBM on a blockchain-based system that could identify and flag recalled foods.

Since then, Walmart has engaged in several DLT-related patents and trials — e.g., tracking meat in China, delivery drones, live food and patenting smart deliveries in the United States.

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IOTA to Enter a New Partnership to Track Potentially Fatal Food Allergens With DLT

IOTA has partnered with digital food safety firm Primority to develop a tool to minimize the threat of potentially fatal food allergens.

Non-profit blockchain organization IOTA Foundation has teamed up with digital food safety management firm Primority to track food allergens via blockchain, IOTA tweeted on June 20.

The new partnership aims to reduce risks associated with potentially fatal food allergens, targeting 220 million people with food allergy worldwide, as IOTA noted in the tweet.

The collaboration includes the development of a prototype of an application that would enable consumers to check food products for allergens, particularly those that go under usual radars for a number of reasons, including cases when products share production lines with allergen-containing products, according to a blog post by IOTA.

Specifically, the application will be based on IOTA’s immutable distributed ledger protocol Tangle, and integrated with Primority’s 3iVerify platform, which will enable the information collected from manufacturers to be automatically shared on IOTA’s Tangle.

As such, the application will reportedly allow consumers to access a number of details about food products by scanning a barcode on the app. The shared information would include tracking of raw materials used and their suppliers, as well as a review of food production processes. As IOTA stressed in the announcement, consumers will be able to access the data “without sharing any personal, sensitive information, and without owning any cryptocurrency.”

Recently, Cointelegraph reported on collaboration between American seafood trade association National Fisheries Institute (NFI) and IBM’s blockchain-based supply chain solution Food Trust to trace seafood species.

In April, research firm Gartner predicted that as much as 20% of the top 10 global grocery suppliers will run using blockchain technology by 2025.

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National Fisheries Institute and IBM’s Food Trust Work on Seafood Blockchain Traceability

United States seafood trade association National Fisheries Institute is working with IBM’s blockchain supply chain solution.

United States seafood trade association National Fisheries Institute (NFI) is working with IBM’s blockchain supply chain solution Food Trust to trace seafood, food-related news outlet FoodOnline reports on June 11.

Per the report, this is the first effort to track multiple seafood species jointly pursued by multiple companies. Furthermore, NFI members representing harvesters, importers, processors, cold storage, foodservice restaurants and retail are all reportedly involved in the program.

The project is purportedly funded by the Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF), whose chairman Sean O’Scannlain commented on the development:

“Traceability is nothing new to the seafood community but blockchain is […] Whether it’s farmed or wild, we will test how IBM’s Food Trust can help seafood businesses generate revenue and reduce costs, from harvest to distribution to our customers.”

The system will reportedly allow companies to control who can access the data and for how long, as well as keep control over it after it has been uploaded on-chain. The general manager at IBM Food Trust, Raj Rao, stated that blockchain can potentially “transform any industry, especially when we have multi-stakeholder environments, businesses and organizations participating.”

As Cointelegraph reported at the beginning of March, North America’s largest branded shelf-stable seafood firm, Bumble Bee Foods, has launched a blockchain platform for seafood traceability.

Earlier this month, news broke that Russia’s third-largest food retail firm, Dixy, has implemented blockchain technology in its corporate finance system.

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Russia’s Third Largest Food Retail Firm Uses Blockchain-Based Open Trade Finance Platform

Russian popular food retailer firm Dixy announced that the firm is using the Ethereum blockchain in factoring service management.

Russia’s third-largest food retail firm, Dixy, has implemented blockchain technology in its corporate finance system, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph on June 5.

The Moscow-based retailer has deployed blockchain in cooperation between suppliers and factoring firms, which represent third parties that purchase businesses’ invoices at a discount in order to help those businesses to raise funds.

Specifically, following a successful pilot test, Dixy is now moving the interactions between suppliers and factoring companies to an Ethereum (ETH) blockchain-powered open trade finance platform called Factorin.

The Factorin platform provides suppliers with a factoring management tool that can be operated via web interface or a mobile application, automating processes and enabling suppliers to receive funding within one day after a delivery is completed, the press release notes.The platform sufficiently facilitates verification processes, as well as minimizes manual labor and associated risks, the company said in the press release.

Dixy added that the retailer is now moving all its factoring-dealing suppliers to the Factorin platform. Those suppliers will be able to receive funds through financing by local banks such as Russia’s largest private bank Alfa-Bank, Pervouralskbank and Bank National Factoring Co, as well as factoring-specializing firm GPB-Factoring.

Recently, popular French retail company Carrefour has reported a significant increase in sales after the firm implemented a blockchain-powered tracking system.

Previously, global retail giant Walmart was reported to have joined blockchain-based pharmaceutical consortium MediLedger, following major industry firms including Pfizer.

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Big Four Auditor EY Provides Blockchain Solution for New Wine Traceability Platform

The new platform helps consumers in Asia determine the quality, provenance and authenticity of imported wines.

Big Four audit firm Ernst & Young (EY) is providing its proprietary blockchain solution for a major new platform that helps consumers across Asia determine the quality, provenance and authenticity of imported European wines. The news was revealed in an official EY press release on May 23.

The e-commerce platform, dubbed Tattoo, has been developed for Blockchain Wine Pte. Ltd. using EY’s OpsChain blockchain solution, which launched in fall 2018. As reported, the solution is EY’s flagship blockchain product, enabling secure and private transactions to take place on the Ethereum (ETH) public network by using zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) technology.

According to the press release, Tattoo is an acronym for traceability, authenticity, transparency, trade, origin and opinion, and the offering has been developed with a focus on European wine consumer markets in China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Singapore.

The Tattoo Wine Platform counts the support of major Asian wine cellar The House of Roosevelt, which will reportedly implement the platform for its wine sales to hotels, restaurants, cafes and consumers. It further plans to leverage the platform’s support for smart contracts to enable customer-to-customer sales for investment-grade wine collectors.

As the press release outlines, the e-commerce solution developed by EY for Tattoo tackles wine provenance and quality for multiple entities — including producers, distributors, logistics providers and insurance operators — as well as creating a tokenized ecosystem for both logistics and sales purposes.

Tokens can thus reportedly be used “to buy and sell wine, schedule and track shipments, monitor warehousing and delivery, and arrange for and track insurance coverage of wine shipments.”

The Tattoo blockchain allows members of the ecosystem to track each batch of wine in order to monitor and verify its authenticity and handling by scanning a unique QR code, which provides data on vineyards, information on crop fertilizers and handling history.

EY notes that its solution for Tattoo uses an ERC-721 token standard as a model for supply chain management, order inventory and other processes, and that OpsChain’s asset traceability module has so far enabled the tokenization over 11 million bottles of wine for various clients. 

In April, EY launched a private beta test version of its new Smart Contract Analyzer tool for the public Ethereum network, as well as an updated version of its Blockchain Analyzer and a ZKP protocol.