Konposit on Blockchain Provenance in Cathy Hotka's Retail Insider Publication
Always fun partnering with retail guru Cathy Hotka. Follows is my recent piece for her retail publication, the Insider Newsletter.
Blockchain is an interesting technology with lots of potential. It has captured my attention for quite some time. I wrote a long-form piece on the topic of blockchain provenance; specifically, I wrote about how we can make the apparel supply chain more transparent and safe. Many of us remember the tragedy at Rana Plaza in Bangladesh. In my piece, I articulate a potential solution for traceability in the apparel supply chain. There are some interesting trials going on right now in this area of blockchain provenance; I share a few of those here.
The Provenance of Diamonds
A "blood diamond" is a diamond mined in a war zone used to finance an insurgency. IBM and a coalition of diamond industry companies, that includes US-based Helzberg Diamonds, are joining forces to add transparency to the diamond supply chain. The coalition is developing a blockchain network for tracing the provenance of finished pieces of jewelry from mine-to-store. Few of us want goods and jewelry that come from unethical sources. Newer generations in particular care about ethical goods and are willing to pay more for responsibly-produced products. Supply chain transparency is important; there is an opportunity to provide this in the jewelry market.
Food Safety and Traceability
In another interesting use case that IBM is involved in, IBM and Walmart (along with Unilever and Dole, among others) are working to develop software that uses the blockchain to track food products through the supply chain, from farm-to-store. We have all heard stories about contaminated food, from romaine in grocery stores to the E. coli outbreak at the Chipotle chain. Food safety is important to all of us. The ability to track back through the supply chain could help identify food safety issues before they become widespread, possibly even before they begin. IBM and Walmart are doing just this, in a series of trials, using the blockchain. Such food traceability can help not only with food safety, but also with food freshness, identifying lagging areas in the supply chain which can be made more efficient.
We will wait to see the outcome of future proof of concepts in this space. Blockchain has the potential to transform and disrupt many industries. This area of blockchain provenance affords us all great opportunity.
Tracy De Cicco is the Founder and Principal of global sales consulting firm, Konposit. She helps US and non-US-based technology companies penetrate and sell into the US market. Tracy has particular depth of expertise in retail. She can be reached at email@example.com. The website is www.konposit.com
 Kharif, Olga, "IBM is Tackling Blood Diamonds With Blockchain." Bloomberg. 26 April 2018.
 Landrum, Sarah, "Millenials Driving Brands To Practice Socially Responsible Marketing." Forbes. 17 March 2017.
 Hackett, Robert, "Walmart and 9 Food Giants Team Up On IBM Blockchain Plans." Fortune. 22 August 2017.