How Blockchain Technology Can Transform the Food Supply Chain and Deliver True Sustainability
My co-founder Raja Ramachandran and I first heard of blockchain, the digital ledger originally designed for Bitcoin currency, while working in the financial sector. At the time, I worked for Nasdaq, which was early to identify the transformational properties of blockchain technology for broader capital markets and the financial services industry. I learned the ways in which this technology allows for digital information to be distributed, but not copied, creating a new type of Internet that can be programmed to record virtually everything of value. After taking a deep dive, I realized that it provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity that can’t be ignored: a chance to design a radically transparent digital food supply chain. Here at ripe.io, we call it the Blockchain of Food.
What can blockchain do for agriculture?
In our early examination of each segment within the larger agriculture and food supply chains, we were immediately struck by three things: fragmentation, complexity and an overall lack of digitization. We saw an opportunity to harness quality food data to create the Blockchain of Food – an unprecedented food quality network that maps the food journey, telling us what’s in our food, where it comes from and what has happened to it. With this kind of transparency, the Blockchain of Food is capable of holding every actor accountable, from farmer to distributor, all the way to the consumer.
We see blockchain supporting the full digitization of a supply chain’s participants, data and workflow in its entirety. But, what does this look like? Imagine a Google spreadsheet that exists as a shared and continuously updated database that tracks data from each leg of a food’s journey. Through shared ledgers, organizations that use blockchain will be able to validate the truth of their supply chains, especially when it comes to showcasing truly sustainable systems.
It all begins with farmers, who will be able to leverage the Internet of Things and digital sensors to automate processes and efficiently meet market demand for high quality, sustainable products. Next, distributors will transparently track food products to provide real-time data on food safety and delivery. And finally, consumers will receive trusted, certified information on the journey of their food, creating a new standard of food quality.
President and Co-Founder of ripe.io
Why ripe.io is unique compared to other blockchain companies:
In two words: our people. We have assembled a team of highly passionate and talented individuals who are completely invested in bringing the Blockchain of Food to life. Our organization is made up of a mix of supply chain engineers, food scientists, blockchain developers, technology executives and entrepreneurs working to create a world in which access to data results in integrity, sustainability, security and better food for all.
What we anticipate for the future of AgTech:
We are simply amazed by the tectonic shift we are witnessing among a wide-ranging number of companies that focus on bringing the latest technology and innovation to the food and agriculture industry. This broader movement, connected with the digitization and personalization of food, will enable consumers to enhance their understanding of how food reaches them, deepening their relationship with what they eat and influencing purchase choices.
This will be the nudge organizations need to streamline supply chains and create the most sustainable system possible – not just for profit, but also because doing so will improve our food system’s integrity, which goes hand in hand with the bottom line. Moreover, efforts are underway to tackle food waste, improve freshness and quality, and enable even greater transparency that will reshape the entire ecosystem for years to come. Our hope is that the Blockchain of Food becomes an integral part of that ecosystem.