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Applications of blockchain technology in food industry

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  • Applications of blockchain technology in food industry

    How can blockchain technology help improve the food industry? New Food hears from two experts about this technology’s potential within the sector.

    We are living in a digital era and the technology of this digital world is changing rapidly. The interesting part of this digital revolution is that it directly or indirectly impacts each of us. Whether there is a change in the smartphone technology leading to a revolution in the flow of information, or an advancement in online security thus changing the way we do banking.


    In many cases, a piece of technology or system starts with solving one problem, but the more that is understood, the further its potential can grow. For example, who would have thought that irradiation, initially designed for safe space food, would be used for food preservation or HACCP and become a basic requirement for the food industry?

    Blockchain and the food industry

    Blockchain is regarded as the next disruption in the technology world and is being studied in several applications, business sectors and processes. This includes the secure handling and storing of administrative records and digital authentication to strengthen intellectual property rights and patent systems, as well as bring transparency throughout the supply chain, reduce food frauds and enhance food safety.
    Blockchain has established its unparalleled authority in the financial sector and now the food industry is looking at where it can be applied. We should also keep in mind that this technology is at its nascent stage and it may take more research and time before it becomes parts and parcel of the food industry.

    The objective of this article is to introduce blockchain technology in common language and share some examples from the world where its application in the food industry is under study.

    What is blockchain technology?

    In basic terms, a blockchain is a digital distributed ledger, maintained by a network of multiple computing machines. It stores data in the form of blocks that are cryptographically secured and immutable. The blockchain is the brainchild of a person or group of people known by the pseudonym, Satoshi Nakamoto. It was first reported in 2008 and since then, has become very popular among the ‘IT fanatics’.

    Unique features of blockchain

    Decentralised

    Unlike the current internet system, there is no single server where entire information is stored. These data are saved as copies in different computers (called nodes in the blockchain world) and there is no central authority supervising anything. These computers are connected to the blockchain network. Due to this distributed copies of data (transaction), blockchain is also known as a distributed ledger.

    Trustless

    Trustless should not be confused with ‘not trustworthy’. Blockchain provides such a transparent environment that one need not to have a third-party to mediate or enhance trust between two parties involved in transaction.

    Transparent

    This should not be misinterpreted as violating privacy. The identity of parties involved in a transaction is hidden via complex cryptography and represented only by their public address (code). While the identity is secure, all the transactions that are carried out by public address are accessible. This level of transparency enhances trust in the system while securing privacy.

    Immutability

    Any data entered in blockchain cannot be modified/tampered with in the future. This immutability feature of blockchain has made it so popular that it is being explored in all the sectors where data integrity and data protection is of utmost importance.

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