Blockchain’s place in the future of supply chain is beyond doubt, based on the number of pilot projects that are mushrooming in the transportation and logistics space. However, even though the basic premise behind blockchain is promising, implementation has been a cause for concern. For instance, creating a sustainable blockchain system for supply chain operations would necessitate the participation of all the stakeholders involved – an arduous task in itself.
Blockchain-based platforms could act as a springboard for pilot programs that target niche verticals, giving businesses the flexibility to work with the technology, rather than building everything from scratch. In that regard, Citizens Reserve, a California-based high-tech startup has announced a partnership with Smartrac, a leader in radio frequency identification (RFID) products and IoT solutions, in utilizing blockchain technology to make supply chains more efficient, transparent and secure.
A few months back, Citizens Reserve launched its SUKU platform, an industry-agnostic ecosystem that was developed to upgrade antiquated supply chain solutions. “SUKU was formed for the supply chain as we know them today – the one that has issues with multiple parties, systems and models,” said Yonathan Lapchik, CIO of Citizens Reserve.
“We started with building track and trace solutions that could work for supply chains across various industries – be it vaccines, soybeans or electronics. We created a decentralized marketplace that has an open peer-to-peer market where suppliers, distributors and manufacturers can come and sell with almost no fees.”
Citizens Reserve’s partnership with Smartrac allows it to utilize blockchain technology to improve the track and trace of goods from supplier to retailer. Smartrac’s proprietary platform, SmartCosmos, assigns physical items a digital identity that allows them to be traced accurately along the supply chain. This, when paired with SUKU, will not only help businesses with track and trace, but also to store data on an immutable and decentralized ledger.
“The idea was to create something like an App Store of services and applications that will help the customer work through supply chains without the need for jumping from one system to another. Supply chains of today are broken, with multiple systems for a single operation. We are looking to integrate all these services and be a unique supply chain channel,” Lapchik said.
Lapchik insisted that supply chains struggle with connecting physical assets to a digital identity. “There is a gap between the physical and digital space. If I own a cow, and I’m selling it to someone, he should be able to verify data about that cow. For instance, where the cow is from, was it crop-fed and did its food come from organic sources,” he said. “Through a digital ID that cannot be changed or corrupted, we can always verify the details of the physical asset.”
Citizens Reserve does not consider blockchain companies working in the supply chain space to be competitors, but as opportunities to work with and integrate. “No one company can integrate everything within every supply chain. Businesses speak about their value proposition to their clients, but to really solve supply chain problems globally and to transform how commerce is done, you need to embrace services,” said Lapchik. “Many of us at Citizens Reserve come from Deloitte Blockchain and have been working with enterprise and Fortune 500 companies, developing solutions and integrating services. One of our key differentiators is that know-how to integrate. ”
The SUKU platform has a layered architecture which Lapchik believes would enable its community and technology partners to develop and integrate to the platform’s features. “If you look at the architecture of our supply chain, you have the infrastructure at the first level, then a blockchain protocol layer, and finally the apps and services that are developed by the community for specific needs,” he explained.
Citizens Reserve is gaining momentum quickly, with offices set up across California, as well as in Miami, Naples, Atlanta and Bangalore. Apart from the partnership with Smartrac that it announced today, it has also joined hands with Blockdaemon, a blockchain orchestration platform, to support enterprise adoption of SUKU by allowing customers to easily deploy nodes and connect to their blockchain protocol of choice within minutes.