An increasing number of industry studies and surveys are telling us that consumers are no longer content with empty brand promises – they want to know with certainty where their goods are sourced from and how, precisely, they’ve travelled from farm to fork.

With the advent of the blockchain, which ensures that records cannot be duplicated, manipulated or faked, technology to trace goods along the supply chain is now in the hands of the customer – where it belongs, some would argue.

Already, as our cover story reports, there have been a number of very relevant use cases of blockchain to track and trace and really “KYO” (know your object).

At the end of last year, Everledger, a company at the forefront of blockchain track and trace, partnered with a counterfeit wine expert to secure the provenance of a bottle of wine – a 2001 Margaux, to be precise – on the blockchain. Specifically, the bottle was certified and secured on the Chai Wine Vault, a registry built on the Linux Foundation Hyperledger Fabric.

The Chai Wine Vault issues certification to bottles authenticated through fine wine expert Maureen Downey’s Chai Method, which collects 90-plus data points as well as high-resolution photography and records of a bottle’s ownership and storage. Everledger then takes all this information and creates a permanent, digital incarnation of the bottle that is written permanently into the blockchain.

As the wine moves between different stakeholders in the supply chain, so too does this digital “proof”, with ownership and storage records being updated as and when the bottle changes hands. Try as you might, you see, you cannot rely on taste to vouch for authenticity. But by using the appropriate technology – and then recording it forever, retailers, warehouses, auction houses and other sellers can link to the bottle’s digital identity to prove its origin which, in the years to come, results in an increase of its value.

But it’s not just wine that can be tracked and traced: other successful projects have been carried out for coffee beans, cotton – even avocados and fish. This issue’s cover story profiles these fascinating developments.


In this issue: