VeChain recently revealed that Walmart China plans to track a variety of food products through its supply chain using the VeChainThor blockchain. The partnership represents a collaboration between Walmart China, China Chain-Store & Franchise Association (CCFA), PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Inner Mongolia Kerchin Co., Ltd., and VeChain.
It was disclosed in the VeChain press release that the Walmart China Blockchain Traceability Platform (WCBTP) will be built on the VeChain Thor blockchain. The WCBTP has already tested and launched 23 product lines at the time of the announcement and plans to scale an additional 100 product lines by the end of the year.
The WCBTP partners plan to incorporate perishable goods such as fresh meat, rice, mushrooms, etc. into their supply chain tracking system built on VeChain’s Thor blockchain by the end of 2019.
China’s troublesome history with counterfeit products has created a need for blockchain-verifiable technologies in the country. Back in 2008, China saw a devastating scandal involving milk formula producers that had added melamine (an ingredient used in plastic and fertilizer production) to boost the protein levels of milk formulas. This resulted in babies developing kidney stones with the event leading to the hospitalization of an estimated 54,000 infants.
More than a decade later, many Chinese parents refuse to trust feeding their babies local milk formula. Having supply chain technologies coinciding with distributed ledger technologies is likely to be a huge step in establishing trust towards Chinese food products.
What is VeChain?
VeChain is a blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform primarily focused on the enhancement of supply chain management and on delivering IoT solutions. The VeChain Foundation is targeting enterprise supply chain management. Everything we purchase goes through a supply chain, and for products on the VeChainThor Blockchain, a system of checks and balances is implemented to ensure quality is maintained throughout the supply chain.
By using VeChain Identity (VID) to track each item, a stronger trust system for shipping, receiving, and warehousing is created. VIDs are created through a process of mining and can be attached to a QR code, NFC tag, or RFID tag which allows traceability throughout the supply chain.
What to expect from VeChain’s blockchain technology and Walmart
VeChain’s blockchain technology will enable Walmart China to implement a secure traceability strategy. Walmart customers will soon be able to scan products to acquire information as comprehensive as the source of the product, geographic location received by Walmart, logistics process, product inspection report, and more.
This is only the beginning of Walmart’s VeChainThor implementation, and more data collection and data availability will be added as Walmart scales its platform. The press release states that the company anticipates tracked sales will be significant in volume:
“It is expected that the Walmart China’s traceability system will see traceable fresh meat account for 50% of the total sales of packaged fresh meat, traceable vegetables will account for 40% of the total sales of packaged vegetables, traceable seafood will account for 12.5% of the total sales of seafood by the end of 2020.”
Walmart is no stranger to blockchain technology. In October 2016, the company began utilizing blockchain technology to identify and remove recalled foods from its products list, partnering with IBM to make that happen. Just last month, Walmart confirms that they have joined MediLedger, a consortium building a blockchain to track and verify prescription drugs.
The future of crypto in China
Despite repeated reports of attempts to ban cryptocurrencies in the country over the last few years, Chinese authorities have shown immense support to the blockchain space. VeChain is currently amongst the list of the first 197 companies that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) has authorized as registered blockchain service providers. Although cryptocurrency trading is technically still banned in the country, the blockchain space still seems to have a bright future in China.
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