Blockchain Will Be Essential In Agriculture : U.S. Govt

Asia Blockchain Review
August 27, 2020

As reported by The Bitcoin Magazine, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture claimed that distributed ledger technology will become integral to the functioning of complex agricultural supply chains in the future.

This was listed in the Federal Register on the 5th of August 2020. On page 39 of the 57 page report, it states, “looking forward, Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) expects electronic tracking systems, including digital ledger technology (DLT), will play an essential role in supply chain traceability.”

“DLT can provide secure, verifiable, transparent, and near-instantaneous tracking at the item level in complex supply chains. Critically, DLT can also protect confidential business information and trade secret information by automatically restricting sensitive information to authorized entities”

“The utility of electronic tracking in food systems has been demonstrated by several successful, high-profile pilot programs. AMS expects interest within the community to grow as stakeholders realize the potential of this technology.”

Traceability has always been the low hanging fruit in the area of DLT use cases in the agricultural and food sectors. Back in 2019, French retailer Carrefour SA used blockchain to track meat, milk and fruit from farms to stores and used it to extend it to more products and and increase shopper trust. Other notable companies like Walmart, Nestle and Dole were all part of IBM’s Food Trust provenance project too.

According to Biser Dimitrov, who is a senior contributor to Forbes, the 2020 outlook for the supply chain space, looks exciting and positive. He believes we are going to see more networks moving from proof of concept and going into pilot and production phases. These companies will have established networks that will expand their members and also the number of products and services too. At the end of the day, interoperability will also be improved between blockchain protocols.

Sean Stein Smith, another Forbes contributor, also believes that the US also needs a blockchain policy that can keep up with the times and also be agile and nimble enough to stay ahead of the curve.

  • Data Integrity is key. This information needs to be insured and protected.
  • Data mobility. The potential for hacking and data breaches will grow exponentially, so standards and policies need to be stringent to prevent this.
  • Consumer education. Blockchain education is going to have to be part of any public policy framework so that consumers are empowered going forward.

He lists a few steps in his article. The broad strokes of his policy action steps touch on these few key areas:

  • Legal consistency. Since data is property, the rights of individuals needs to be protected as well.
  • Public private partnerships. Blockchain insurance products need to be designed for individuals who suffer damages from blockchain applications.
  • Develop cryptodollars. Sean believes that tokenizing the U.S. currency is long overdue. As he says ” Integrating the dollar with blockchain establishes the dollar as the currency of the present, and the future.”

He is right to state that although digitization and automation are the future of how economies will work, like anything else in life, there will be a need for rules, frameworks and guidelines to operate effectively. That’s why he is adamant that a national blockchain policy is needed to for the future success of blockchain as a technology and a way of life.

Source : Nasdaq, The Federal Register , Forbes and Reuters.

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