The Food Industry -Blockchain Applications

Err.. not really first thing that occurs to you when you think of ‘blockchain applications’, now is it?

But, the fact is that many big shopping chains like Walmart are teaming up with IBM to integrate the blockchain in their food management system.

Very best purpose of doing so?

One of the most fundamental questions that we should ask whenever we consume any food product is: “Where is my food coming from?”

A great number of are becoming increasingly unsociable regarding the source of their food and this is triggering a lot of problems to not the particular consumers but the manufacturers as well.

Back in October 6, 2006 multiple states in the USA suffered a major E-Coli outbreak. The culprit? Spinach.

Around 199 people were afflicted of whom 22 were children under 5 years old. 31 of the 199 developed a kind of kidney failure called hemolytic-uremic syndrome. In the end, 3 people died in the outbreak, one of whom was obviously a 2-year-old child.

As a result of this, your entire food industry went into pandemonium. People were desperately seeking to trace the source of the afflicted spinach. Everyone pulled spinach immediately from the marketplace. It took the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) a total of 2 weeks to find the source of the contaminated spinach, for 2 weeks there was no spinach on the market.

Could you guess as to what the original source was?

This was one supplier. 1 farm. One lot.

Just that one lot shut up an entire industry devote weeks. For 2 weeks, farmers whose entire livelihood depended on spinach were left broke and broke.

All this would have recently been avoided if there was the way to search for the spinach.

But then this begs another question: Is ‘Letter Traceability’ really what we should be aiming for?

Is that really the best that we can do when it comes to the food?

Is traceability what we should be aiming for or can it be complete transparency?

As we have already seen before, tracing your meals are a very slow process. It usually takes a long time, during which entire industrial sectors and livelihoods may be shut down. So what is the greatest way to tackle this?

What if, we were to make each and every step of the procedure (from the time the food grows on the farm to the time it reaches the marketplace) transparent?

So, what happens if the blockchain becomes implemented here to maintain all the food data? Remember that the blockchain is an open ledger and the data in it is open to everyone and there is no core authority taking charge of the information. This greatly reduces the time that may be wasted going through unlimited red tape and hierarchy. In fact, having these data on the blockchain will reduce the holding out time from weeks to mere seconds.

Walmart has already done two test runs with IBM, one with Chinese pork and the other with Mexican mangoes. Walmart and IBM used the ‘Hyperledger Fabric’ a blockchain formerly built by IBM and now located under the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger group for these tests. Frank Yiannas, vice president of food protection at Walmart had this to say about the results of the studies (As told to Fortune):

“We were so urged that we really quickly started reaching out to other manufacturers and suppliers as well.”

As the blockchain gets more and more integrated into the food industry it will make the whole process more transparent and safer. The attributes of a transparent food system are a lot more (Taken from Frank Yiannas speech):

  • Greatly enhances food safety.
  • Ensures fresher food since no person will risk sending ‘on-fresh’ food in an open system.
  • There is less food waste because every single bit of food is accounted for.
  • Stops food fraud because the machine is open for everyone to see.
  • Another benefit from an open system is that it promotes responsibility among the food producers since they now know that they can’t get away with underhand dealings.

Cybersecurity -Blockchain Applications

On September 7, 2017 Equifax, one of the world’s most significant consumer credit reporting organization shocked the world when they says they experienced just faced a huge cybersecurity breach. They faced unauthorized data access from mid-May through July 2017 which they learned on Come july 1st 29. Around 145. 5 million were under the chance of having their personal information stolen which included:

  • Brands
  • Social Security Number
  • Delivery Dates
  • Addresses
  • Driver’s Permit Numbers

However, this was not the first time that a major cybersecurity breach happened to a well known company. Back in 2016, search engine giants ‘Yahoo!’ faced a major attack and around one billion dollars Yahoo accounts were affected. Attackers could actually get the following data:

  • Names
  • Passwords
  • Telephone numbers
  • Answers to security questions

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the first example of Yahoo getting hacked either since there are tons of DIY instructions online on what to crack Yahoo. Imagine how jeopardized the security of a company is when there are DIY guides about how to hack that specific company floating online!

When security companies like Verizon did their research they found certain trends. Apparently, 65% of the data breaches were because of weak, default, or thieved passwords. The industry considerable amount despite it being below the previous year’s (95%). According to their research, the key reasons why almost all of these episodes happen is that of the gullibility of the people themselves.

Time and again people fall for phishing attacks and they carry on giving away sensitive data such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details. In reality, Verizon’s report states that 23% of the people keep opening phishing email and half of them even open the parts which come along with that!

If you want to know the true depth of the problem, then consider this. Cybercrime costs the global economic climate $400 billion annually.

Thus, now the question is, how can the blockchain help prevent these episodes?

There are mainly 3 features which a blockchain has that can help prevent cybersecurity attacks.

Feature #1: Trustless System

A blockchain system runs without the idea of ‘human trust’ As Derin Cag in his Richtopia article states, it assumes that any insider or outsider can compromise the system at any moment and hence it is impartial of human ethics.

Characteristic #2: Immutability

The blockchain allows one to store data and secure it using various cryptographic properties such as digital validations and hashing. One of the best top features of this is that as soon as data enters a block in a blockchain it can not be tampered with. This is called ‘immutability’.

Feature #3: Decentralization & Consensus

The blockchain is a decentralized distributed system. So how does anything at all get done if there is no key expert? The blockchain is constructed of a lot of nodes. Within order for any decision that must be taken, the majority of the nodes need to visit a consensus and make a choice. So, rather than a key authoritative figure, we have a democratic system.

These three properties provide itself greatly to cybersecurity.

Here are some real-life examples of blockchain companies disrupting the cybersecurity room.

Example #1: Guardtime and real-time cyber-attack mitigation

Guardtime is a data security startup founded by Estonian cryptographer Ahto Buldas. They have recently started placing up their sensitive data on the blockchain for the added security. Most security companies use the Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) which uses Asymmetric Cryptography and a cache of public keys. The problem, however, is that these keys are maintained with a centralized body (Certificate Authority). Since the system is centralized they may be vulnerable to attacks.

So, what Guardtime is doing is that they are utilizing the blockchain to create a KSI (Keyless Signature Infrastructure) to exchange the PKI system. It may be the world’s biggest blockchain company simply by revenue, headcount and actual customer deployments. In fact, in 2016 the organization obtained all of Estonia’s 1 , 000, 000 health records featuring a systems.

Example #2: REMME and data protection

How’s confidential data protected?

Back in the day, we had guards standing over the huge vault which stored your data for you. But obviously, there are a lot of issues with this system

It is highly inconvenient to look all the way to the vault each and every time you want to access information.

An individual are still depending on humans to stay honest. That’s hardly the best security model.

Then we shifted to username and passwords.

However, that is still risky because all those get saved in a centralized server and it can get hacked anytime.

So, REMME emerged up with the concept of making passwords completely obsolete. Every device will have their own SSL certificate, whose data will be stored on the blockchain. Because the blockchain is immutable, your data that gets stored in it can never be tampered with. That means all the devices and confidential data is secure.

Downsides of using blockchain in cybersecurity

According to Brian Treat, the lead of blockchain practice at Accenture, while blockchain is a brilliant technology it is not necessarily designed to handle massive numbers of data. Since companies like Equifax handle humongous amounts of data a blockchain might not exactly be the best way to store it. But he added which a blockchain can be helpful in enabling individuals to exert control over their identity.

Voting -Blockchain Applications

Voting is an absolutely essential tool for any democratic government. That is the most crucial factor that makes a government nor the people and by the people In truth, if it wasn’t for voting than the principle of a ‘free country’ might not even exist. Having said that, it is absolutely fascinating and shocking that we have still not moved on from the traditional document ballot approach to voting.

Typically the paper ballot system has long been utilised by nations around the world around the world. The particular concept is simple, you put your vote on a part of paper and put it in a ballot box. At the ending of the election, the ballots are counted and the person who gets the most ballots is the winner. Nevertheless, as simple as it may sound, there are a lot of issues that can happen because of traditional paper balloting system.

The Problems with Traditional Paper Ballot Method

The machine cannot be computerized and is extremely boring. From actually physically going to the venues where the ballot boxes are kept to waiting in long lines. The whole process is extremely time-consuming.

  • The amount of time taken to count the votes is too high.
  • The election can be hijacked via the insertion of bogus ballot papers.
  • More powerful parties are able to use intimidation tactics on the venues to rig the election in a certain way.
  • The amount of paper wastage can cause harm to environmental surroundings.
  • Right now there is no historical document possible to keep monitor of each and every vote made.
  • Typically the cost of expenditure on paper ballots is quite high.
  • It is impossible to read your vote.
  • When you have cast a political election you are unable to change it.

So as you can see, there are a lot of disadvantages of a paper ballot system. To counter this a digital voting system was employed by countries like Estonia. As The Economist reports, Estonia has had electric voting since 2005. Inside fact, during the 2015 parliamentary elections, 30. five per cent of the votes were done digitally.

However, there were some possible issues in the system that were pointed out (data obtained from The Economist).

To begin with, the client side machine could develop a spyware and adware which reads each and every vote cast and changes the vote to the other candidate.

An attacker can directly infect the machines through malware put on the DVDs used to set up the servers and transfer the votes.

While problems were criticized and competitive by the Estonian Information Systems Authority, the reality remains that having a centralized server taking treatment of the votes can be susceptible to multiple attacks and hacks.

Typically the Blockchain Solution

Companies like ‘Follow My Vote’ are using the blockchain technology and Elliptical Curve Cryptography to bring voting to the modern world. Their goal is simple, make political election process as transparent as possible. What exactly happens to your votes after you cast it? Hardly anyone knows that. Therefore , how is integrating blockchain technology going to fix this?

This is exactly what Follow Our Vote is planning to do. Any potential divider can securely login using their webcam and government issued ID. After they are carried out the voting, anyone may use their voting IDENTIFICATION in order to their votes and be sure it has recently been cast correctly. In addition. These people even give their voters the ability to change their votes any quantity of times till the deadline.

They use Elliptical trainer Curve Cryptography (ECC) to produce these votes. ECC is a form of asymmetric cryptography. Asymmetric cryptography uses two secrets (a public key and a private key) to encrypt and decrypt data. ECC is basically what bitcoin and ethereum use for their cryptography. A single thing to note, the private key should not be revealed to anyone but the user and the public key creates a public address which is shared with everyone.

Just how do Follow My Election utilize this technology to create their votes?

During Divider Registration, the voter creates two ECC key-pairs. Typically the voter reveals their identity to a verifier who certifies the initial key couple. Once that is done, the voter registers their second key pair anonymously as belonging to the first pair. The first key-pair is named ‘identity key-pair’ while the second is called ‘voting key-pair’.

Typically the voter can then create a transaction which is basically their vote and sign them off with their voting private key. Once the vote is done, anyone can confirm whether the signature is valid or not and ensure that none of the votes have been tampered with. They might simply confirm using the voter’s general public key to check whether it is indeed the voter who did the voting or not.

Terrain Registry

India has seemed into the blockchain technology as a possible solution to their land computer registry problems. Property fraud is one of the biggest issues in India.

Look at this for a second.

In 2013, New Delhi alone had 181 reported cases of property fraud while Mumbai came a close second at 173 cases. Thus, to counter this concern, the governments of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have partnered program Swedish start-up ChromaWay to set their land registry on the blockchain.

The execution is proceeding to be extremely uncomplicated.

The device will have a blockchain back-end and a web app front-end. Typically the front-end will aid in the overall system entire. ChromaWay will be using their own database program called ‘Hostchain’.

As per International Business Periods: Hostchain is built from the ground up to work with most widely-used programs, and integrating it into the government’s systems is done seamlessly.

One of the numerous interesting innovations that they possibly could be doing is the introduction of cryptographically secure, digital finger prints.

  • This is one way it can possibly work:
  • A new hash is taken of the geo-coordinates together with a polygonal description of the land.
  • This hash is tied to the owner’s ID and the effect is hashed again and added to the blockchain.
  • Since the hash is always a unique value, everyone will have a unique ID. As well as, because of the blockchain’s immutability, nobody can tamper with the records.

J A Chowdary, Special Chief Secretary & IT advisor to Andhra Pradesh CM N. Chandrababu Naidu had this to say about this innovation,

“Blockchain is the technology for the future. It will not only change the way we perceive processes but it also has got the prospective to transform the overall economy. Naturally , we all are yet to fully discover this technology thus the Government of Andhra Pradesh has engaged with startups from across the globe such as ChromaWay to run proofs of concept within its own departments. ChromaWay’s expertise and previous execution in countries such as Sweden have added enormous value to our understanding of blockchain.”

Bottom line

As you can see, there are many more blockchain applications than just cryptocurrency and can affect way more sectors than just the finance sector. We deliberately avoided showing the blockchain’s impact on the banking sector to keep the list as non-fintech as possible. We desire that guide will educate you and encourage you about the possibilities of the wonderful and disruptive technology.