E-commerce giant Alibaba today announced a project to combat counterfeit and fraudulent food products that will include work on a blockchain-inspired pilot model that would be used by supply chain participants.
Blackmores and Australia Post have signed a memorandum of understanding with Alibaba relating to the project.
Alibaba said that a framework to combat food fraud would be piloted in Australia but eventually be rolled out around the world. The company is working with PwC on the project.
“Food fraud is a serious global issue that not only costs the food industry billions every year, but puts consumers’ health at risk,” said Alibaba Group Australia and New Zealand managing director Maggie Zhou.
“The signing of today’s agreement is the first step in creating a globally respected framework that protects the reputation of food merchants and gives consumers further confidence to purchase food online.”
Blockchain is the distributed ledger technology that underpins the Bitcoin cryptocurrency. The head of Australia’s corporate regulator, Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), has predicted an explosion in the use of distributed ledger-based solutions in the local market.
Last year, the Commonwealth Bank revealed that as part of its experiments with blockchain it had orchestrated a ‘smart contract’ transaction involving the use of a blockchain.
The transaction involved US-based Brighann Cotton sending a shipment to Brighann Cotton Marketing Australia and leveraged Skuchain’s Brackets system. Along with CBA, US bank Wells Fargo participated.
The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is currently assessing a blockchain-based replacement for its CHESS system, which provides equity post-trade services.