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What is blockchain? How can we transform business?

“Blockchain will make intermediaries obsolete and will therefore replace companies such as the individual transport platform Uber.” That's what you read. Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, one of the 100 most influential people in the information technology area on the planet, is part of a network of leaders who point to the systems that gave rise to digital currencies, blockchains, as a new revolution within the revolution, digital.

The thesis is supported by other personalities, such as Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, for whom blockchain has disruptive power, by enabling impacts and substantially improving the efficiency of a supply chain. The market considers that it is only a matter of time before the broader financial services and banking sectors shift to network and blockchain-based approaches.

Some say people should take blockchain technology as seriously today as they took the internet in the early 1990s. Tech enthusiasts even believe that the application possibilities are endless - improving the way we keep and transfer secure assets from cash to stocks, music and intellectual property.

In addition to the financial system in general, solar energy, music streaming, insurance, car rental, diamond tracking, agriculture, environmental protection make up the list of sectors currently involved with promising experiments. In fact, the expectation is that the scenario is one of expansion of knowledge and applications, with popularization. And all sectors will experience business opportunities, with the creation of revolutionary solutions to facilitate the daily lives of people, governments and organizations.

Digital database

A system that allows you to track the sending and receiving of some types of information over the internet, blockchain is defined, in a summarized and objective way, as pieces of code generated online that carry connected information - such as blocks of data that form a chain - hence the name. It is this system that allows the operation and transaction of so-called cryptocurrencies or digital currencies.

Blockchain is disruptive because it represents changing business and transaction models. This is what you can already see in the financial system, in particular, where, in the current system, a central ledger usually acts as the custodian of this information, like the Federal Reserve and its member banks in the United States. In a blockchain world, information about each transaction is transparently maintained in a digitally shared cloud database, without a single central body acting as an intermediary. This lack of central authority is the very feature that is turning the current mental and business models of traditional financial institutions upside down.

In many areas, it tends to replace centralized processes in the banking industry. The technology's ability to provide an unpredictable record of identity, including an individual's transaction history, is an area that is being eagerly explored. A secure, distributed file can be used to store validated data about individuals or companies. It is a potentially global application that can provide more security about identity data and where that data is stored. ”

Anything that can be thought of as a supply chain, blockchain can greatly improve its efficiency - it doesn't matter if it's people, numbers, data, money. Ginni Rometty, CEO of IBM

The tech community expects a period of rapid evolution as the financial services industry offers visibility into blockchain-based solutions and what that means for their business models. The scenario includes the integration of startups, which even impact large institutions, eliminating comfortable positions.

Traditional perceptions about the roles of financial stakeholders are already under attack - as it appears that code can perform better than an actual intermediary in most cases. Old business models will soon fall victim to rapidly evolving technology and mental models. The network is about to work its magic: grow and evolve without central control.

There are many innovative network business models that are emerging after traditional financial services and banking organizations, and large banks are starting to realize that they must evolve in response if they are to remain viable in a digitally centric world - whether through acquisition, partnership or developing cutting-edge technologies. But what's less clear is why, exactly, these new entrants are so innovative and powerful. What allows them to bypass the constraints perceived by those who were once "too big to fail" and explore unseen possibilities? In short, it's network-centric thinking with platform-based business models.

[Blockchain] is the biggest set of opportunities we can think of in the next decade or so. Bob Greifeld, CEO of Nasd

More about blockchain

Who is using blockchain?

The market is seeing a sharp rise in companies embracing the technology in their food supply chains as people are starting to see the real benefits of having radical transparency.

Big supermarkets

In the US, major networks have been using blockchain technology to digitize their supply chain and reduce the time it takes to trace the source of food contamination. In 2020, an E. coli outbreak that hit 19 states and hospitalized 20 people originated from leafy greens in the United States. The industry spent millions of dollars notifying the public, as well as tracking and removing contaminated vegetables from the market. Walmart now requires all green leafy vegetable suppliers to upload data onto a blockchain that tracks production back to the farm it came from. In the event of batch contamination, Walmart is able to trace contaminated food in seconds compared to a manual process that takes weeks. This is invaluable during product recall moments.

Frank Yiannas, VP of Food Safety at Walmart said:

“With a blockchain traceability solution, you can scan a product and accurately and accurately trace it to the source in seconds – not days or weeks… in the future, a customer could scan a bag of salad and know for sure if he was involved in a recall.”

Nestlé uses a blockchain to trace the growing origins of its Rainforest Alliance-certified coffee brand, Zoégas. To increase trust and transparency around the product, The Rainforest Alliance provides its own certification information, assuring the origins and sustainable practices of coffee growing. By scanning a QR code on the package, customers can view information about the farmers, harvest time, roasting period and even the transaction certificate for the specific shipment of their coffee.

Bumble Bee Foods registers its yellowfin tuna operations on a blockchain to improve traceability and deter fraud. The system tracks the movement of fish along the supply chain, from the moment it is caught to the moment it is sold in stores. Like the Nestlé initiative, customers can see information about the origin of the tuna, the fishing community that caught it and the size of the catch. Fair trade data is also displayed, giving customers peace of mind that their money is not being used to fund unethical practices such as slave and child labor.

By leveraging blockchain technology, we have the opportunity to bring transparency, accountability and trust to food supply chains.

Blockchain Technologies is empowering companies with blockchain-backed solutions like STAMP Supply, a platform that increases the transparency, auditability and performance of supply chains.

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