A pilot project by Wong Supermarket, a Peruvian chain owned by Chile’s major retail conglomerate Cencosud, will allow suppliers and consumers to scan and check the provenance of various meat products. The app is a partnership between Cencosud and Citizens Reserve subsidiary SUKU, the Silicon Valley-based supply chain company whose founders hail from the Deloitte Blockchain Lab.
Peruvian shoppers are weeks away blockchain answering the age-old question first posed in 1984: “Where’s the beef?”
At launch, the consumer-facing app will feature enterprise-level blockchain backend using J.P. Morgan’s permissioned blockchain platform, Quorum.
The platform will be available in 20 different Wong stores and cover all meat products carrying the SUKU logo. Just like a Ⓤ or K emblem signals to Jewish consumers that a rabbi inspected the product, the SUKU emblem will mean that the company has tracked the path of the meat from steer to shelf.
Unlike the kosher certification, however, you can actually dive into the Wong meat’s supply blockchain history and see a record validating each part of the meat’s history.
SUKU CEO Yonathan Lapchik told CoinDesk that this blockchain use case has enormous potential in terms of applications for the wider global consumer goods market.
“You have a large group of consumers that want to buy sustainability, and want to buy transparent products from brands. But they don’t do it today – they don’t trust what the brands are saying. There’s a $1 trillion market sitting there for companies and brands to take if they can speak the same language as those consumers do.”
Even the animals’ health and welfare are tracked, stored and then reviewable on the blockchain, Lapchik said.
“Every time a producer says ‘I vaccinated all the animals, all the animals have their animal welfare certified,’ then the system automatically triggers an input to the party that needs to confirm it, and they will confirm ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ and submit the certificate.”
Wong had been one of Peru’s most trusted brands according to the Lima Chamber of Commerce, but when Chile’s Cencosud purchased the decades-old chain for $500 million in 2007, Reuters reported locals went into an uproar, citing fears that the store would change.
Now, with the new app and transparent supply chain, Cencosud Peru’s manager of perishables Enrique Ameghino sees this as another way to build trust.
“SUKU and blockchain technology are helping us further develop our relationship with our customers”, Ameghino said in a statement. “It is another avenue for us to communicate with them directly.”
“We are seeing this transition from systems based on trust to systems based on transparency. That’s what Satoshi gave us: That opportunity to bring transparency through technology”, said Lapchik.
New Blockchain-Based Smart City Project Planned for Cambodian Capital
A Singaporean startup, Limestone Network, is using blockchain to sustain a smart neighbourhood at the heart of the Cambodian capital.
As Tech in Asia reports on August 14, the 100-hectare mixed-use development in Phnom Penh encompasses residential properties, offices, retail centers, schools and a large-scale exhibition hall: it counts 10,000 business tenants and a daily population of 190,000.
Limestone emerged from the first round of startups in the Singaporean government’s blockchain Tribe Accelerator, backed by government agency Enterprise Singapore.
Digital passports and wallets
At the heart of the Phnom Penh project is a blockchain-powered ID system, which creates a digital passport for residents and commuters via the Limestone mobile app.
Users must notably undergo background checks before a passport is issued, which grants them access to a mobile digital wallet and includes features such as providing tap-in tap-out access to different buildings.
In order to disintermediate the ties between enterprises and the public, the project focuses on using blockchain to provide secure data portability – so that a firm can skip middlemen in providing various services directly to consumers.
It also aims to widen financial inclusion, using digital payment history and lifestyle data as an equivalent to a credit score that enable residents and workers to apply for microloans and other financial services.
Slated for completion by early 2022, the project will in future on-board various partners such as ride-hailing apps, financial institutions, retail brand owners and data analytics firms.
Over the course of the next five years, the startup intends to roll out similar smart city projects across South East Asia with the cooperation of local governments.
Blockchain-powered smart cities
Visiting senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore Business School Emir Hrnjic told Tech in Asia that the principle advantage of blockchain-based smart cities is its potential to aggregate, analyze and distribute real-time data.
He acknowledged the regulatory and data privacy challenges that both centralized and decentralized technologies are faced with, remarking that:
“The future of blockchain-enabled smart cities would likely be something in between an ideal society, where everyone has control over their lives and environment, and a dystopian society of a few controlling the masses.”
Earlier this month, Cointelegraph reported that South Korea’s capital, Seoul, plans to launch its own digital currency as part of its bid to transform into a blockchain-based smart city.