how will blockchain affect your relationship with your supply chain?
“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don & Alex Tapscott, authors Blockchain Revolution (2016)
An online globally distributed general ledger that keeps track of transactions via online "smart contracts” via a network of so-called computing “nodes” makes up the blockchain. It gives internet users the ability to create value and authenticate digital information.
Smart contracts, where distributed ledgers enable the coding of simple contracts that will execute when specified conditions are met, offer supply chains flexibility to respond to events as they occur in real-time, resulting in more efficient use of resources. It is easy to see how this can benefit logistics and supply chain management as it helps goods move around the globe in tip top condition, but can it also add value to marketing?
image courtesy of blockgeeks.com
Blockchains look set to decentralize the sharing economy, removing the need for intermediaries such as Uber and AirBnB and enabling peer-to-peer payments and it could revolutionize supply chain auditing. Consumers increasingly want to know that the ethical claims companies make about their products are real. Distributed ledgers provide an easy way to certify that the backstories of the things we buy are genuine. Transparency comes with blockchain-based timestamping of a date and location that corresponds to a product number.
Walmart has already announced that it is using Blockchains to track the movement of Chinese pork imports to alleviate worries over product quality and the retail giant is making further investments in the technology in an attempt to build trust with consumers. As the technology becomes more and more accessible is it inevitable that all goods will be monitored and tracked around the globe?
Consumers and particularly Millennials, are actively seeking out brands and retailers that demonstrate purpose and in turn businesses are making all sorts of ethical and environmental claims. Could blockchain offer consumers the transparency required to make truly informed decisions? Could blockchain build trust and loyalty? One thing is certain - it will be crucial how businesses share this information with consumers; the billions of pieces of data will need to be communicated in a meaningful and user-friendly way.