Crypto-Anchors and Blockchain Link Physical to Digital in the Supply Chain

Crypto-Anchors and Blockchain Link Physical to Digital in the Supply Chain

April 8, 2018

We’ve previously discussed blockchain’s use in the food supply chain to speed up tracking, and to aid in responsible sourcing and sustainable use of resources. Now let’s consider how it can combat supply chain fraud.

Blockchain could potentially verify the authenticity of products.  It’s estimated that the annual cost to the global economy of counterfeited items exceeds $600 billion. In some parts of the world, over 40% of aftermarket auto parts are counterfeit.  And, in some countries, over 70% of pharmaceuticals are counterfeit, resulting in the loss of life.

Part of the problem is the global supply chain itself, exacerbated by e-commerce.  Counterfeits can be substituted at almost any place in the supply chain.

Blockchain technology can digitally trace a product through the supply chain. However, one aspect is still missing.  How do you tie this digital record to the physical product?

Crypto-anchors will provide that link, according to IBM, which is developing several cryptographic products, including a computer as small as a coarse grain of salt. IBM considers this blend of digital and physical technology to be one of the top 5 innovations that will change our lives in the next 5 years.

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