Blockchain: Carrefour signs up to IBM’s “game-changing” food network

09 Oct 2018 — French-headquartered retail giant Carrefour has joined the IBM Food Trust blockchain network, adopting the game-changing …

09 Oct 2018 — French-headquartered retail giant Carrefour has joined the IBM Food Trust blockchain network, adopting the game-changing technology to improve traceability of certain food products with plans to expand to all Carrefour brands by 2022. A number of retailers, logistics firms and growers are working with IBM-developed blockchain technology – and now Europe’s largest retailer is adopting blockchain which will quickly help trace food back to its source within seconds, unlike traditional transactions.

The blockchain-based cloud network offers businesses and food industry providers with data from across the food ecosystem to enable greater traceability, transparency and efficiency.

The network is now generally available after 18 months in testing, during which retailers and suppliers have tracked millions of individual food products.

The move by Carrefour comes just a couple of weeks after Walmart, an early proponent of blockchain technology, announced that its leafy green suppliers would be required to capture digital, end-to-end traceability event information using IBM Food Trust. You can read more on this here. The US retail giant lauds the benefits of the database that can quickly and efficiently identify contamination.

Walmart has been piloting the new technology in collaboration with numerous suppliers and IBM over the last 18 months to demonstrate that meaningful enhancements to food traceability is possible and expects all suppliers to have all systems in place by this time next year.

Rapidly pinpointing potential food contamination is one of the significant virtues of blockchain technology which speeds up food contamination investigations. Enhanced ability to trace food back to its source can help companies and government agencies to identify the source of foodborne disease outbreak and coordinate effective recalls of foods thought to be contaminated.

“The currency of trust today is transparency”

Carrefour stores will initially use the solution to highlight consumers’ confidence in a number of Carrefour-branded products, as part of the retailer’s Act for Food program.

“Being a founding member of the IBM Food Trust platform is a great opportunity for Carrefour to accelerate and widen the integration of blockchain technology to our products to provide our clients with safe and undoubted traceability,” says Laurent Vallée, general secretary of Carrefour. “This is a decisive step in the roll-out of Act for Food, our global program of concrete initiatives in favor of the food transition.”

Although so far there have been few examples of its large-scale application, blockchain is a burgeoning technology and many agile companies within and the food industry are adopting it as a transparency solution. Other industries such as finance and retail are also using blockchain solutions.

The attributes of blockchain and the ability to permission data, enables network members to gain a new level of trusted information. Transactions are endorsed by multiple parties, leading to an immutable single version of the truth, says IBM, as momentum grows among users and third-party data suppliers on the network.

The IBM Food Trust network has expanded to focus on optimizing the food supply, including generating insights on product freshness, reducing waste and making the supply chain more collaborative and transparent.

IBM Food Trust uses a decentralized model to allow multiple participating members of the food supply chain – from growers to suppliers to retailers – to share food origin details, processing data, and shipping information on a permissioned blockchain network. A separate entity controls each node on the blockchain and all data on the blockchain is encrypted. The decentralized features of the network enable all parties to work together to ensure the data is trusted.

“The currency of trust today is transparency and achieving it in the area of food safety happens when responsibility is shared,” says Bridget van Kralingen, Senior Vice President, IBM Global Industries, Clients, Platforms and Blockchain.

“That collaborative approach is how the members of IBM Food Trust have shown blockchain can strengthen transparency and drive meaningful enhancements to food traceability. Ultimately, that provides business benefits for participants and a better and safer product for consumers.”

The scale of the food system is so huge, it is virtually impossible for any single entity to track – but blockchain changes that and can increase trust, traceability and security in the supply chain.

In addition to Carrefour, other organizations joining IBM Food Trust include:

  • Leading cooperative Topco Associates, LLC, representing 49 members, reaching over 15,000 stores and 65 million weekly customers;
  • Retailer-owned cooperative Wakefern, representing 50 member companies and 349 stores;
  • Suppliers including BeefChain, Dennick Fruit Source, Scoular, and Smithfield.

IBM says that members joining the growing ecosystem of the IBM Food Trust have helped build a powerful global business solution that is interoperable and built on open standards. It’s designed to enable organizations in the food industry to run their businesses more effectively and provide safer food at lower costs.

“Blockchain helps us be more transparent. It transforms how the food industry works by speeding up investigations into contaminated food, authenticating the origin of food, and providing insights about the conditions and pathway the food traveled to identify opportunities to maximize shelf-life and reduce losses due to spoilage,” explains Ed Treacy, Vice President of Supply Chain Efficiencies at the Produce Marketing Association.

IBM Food Trust runs on the IBM Cloud and features enterprise-class security, reliability and scalability. The foundation of the technology relies on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source blockchain framework hosted by the Linux Foundation. In addition, the network includes compatibility with the GS1 standard used by much of the food industry to ensure interoperability for traceability systems, according to IBM.

Participants can select from three IBM Food Trust software-as-a-service modules with pricing that is scaled for small, medium and global enterprises, beginning at US$100 per month. Suppliers can contribute data to the network at no cost.

By Gaynor Selby

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Ethereum price analysis: ETH/USD bulls gather energies for another assault on $230 handle

Ethereum, the second largest coin by market value, is capped by a critical $230 handle, trading at $229 at the time of writing amid weak momentum.
  • ETH/USD stays below $230 after a short-lived breakthrough.
  • Ethereum developers demonstrate strong support for the platform.

Ethereum, the second largest coin by market value, is capped by a critical $230 handle, trading at $229 at the time of writing amid weak momentum. The coin is 1.6% higher on a day-on-day basis, but unchanged since the beginning of Tuesday. Ethereum’s current market value is $23.4B, while the average daily trading volume is registered at $1.47B, in line with long-term average figures.

What’s going on

While it’s been a tough year for Ethereum, the network is still the choice No.1 for dApps developers and smart contract-based projects. About 1,000 developers participated in the hackathon that took place in San Francisco from October 5 to October 7. Moreover, developers have been flocking to Ethereum platform despite price decrease with the number of users downloading ETH application for developers increased substantially by the end of the first quarter.

Many people blame Ethereum for the ICO market bubble and a lot of scams related to the initial coin offerings, but the revolutionary potential of the “World’s first decentralized computer” still fascinates the tech guys and motivate them to work on viable real0life use cases for Ethereum’s technology.

Ethereum’s technical picture

ETH/USD escaped from a short-term triangle pattern with bullish breakthrough; the price touched $232, but a strong selling interest located above critical resistance, pushed the coin back inside the range.

Currently, the coin is supported by the former resistance area $225. It is strengthened by a confluence of SMA levels (1-hour chart) and a short-term upside trendline from October 3 low at $214. Once this area is cleared, the sell-off may continue towards the above-said October 3 low and psychological $200.

The upside is capped by $230 handle and $238 (DMA50). This hurdle needs to be cleared to unlock the way towards the long-term resistance of $250.00.

ETH/USD, 1-hour chart

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Ethereum [ETH] Co-Founder outlines the developments in Ethereum 2.0

Recently, Vitalik Buterin, the Co-Founder of Ethereum spoke about Ethereum 2.0 and the importance it holds for the Ethereum blockchain and the …

Recently, Vitalik Buterin, the Co-Founder of Ethereum spoke about Ethereum 2.0 and the importance it holds for the Ethereum blockchain and the timeline of its release, during the Ethereum San Francisco event.

Buterin stated that Ethereum 2.0 is a “catch-all term” that includes a combination of different concepts. He went on to say that those concepts were a part of a path that will “seriously and fundamentally” revamp the entire Ethereum blockchain. The Etherum community has been working on the Etherum 2.0 project for a few years now.

The team is focused on concepts like Proof of Stake [PoS] protocol called Casper and sharding, he added. In addition, the next generation Ethereum will have miscellaneous improvements like abstraction, improved protocol economics. Buterin also stated that he recently authored a paper on the concept of protocol economics.

Buterin further stated:

“Ethereum 2.0, is basically the kind of new version of Ethereum that will take all of these different improvements and put them together and essentially create what we believe is the best possible design for a general purpose blockchain.”

Moreover, the Co-Founder stated that their aim is to have a road map to migrate Etherum beyond Ethereum 2.0 over the next few years.

Buterin further stated that the amount of research that that went into the project made him optimistic. Buterin believes that from a research point of view, there is no significant unsolved theoretical problem. It is more in terms of, detailing, security check and validation, he said.

Recalling the time it took from writing the white paper to materializing it to form Ethereum 1.0, he stated that the timeline for Ethereum 2.0 is similar to the same lines.

In his words:

“Right now, we’re actually very significantly ahead of the initial white paper really is. So like I would say right now with Ethereum 2.0 and with where the protocol is, and where the software development is, is probably where Ethereum 1.0 was possibly in maybe the fall of 2014.”

Giving examples of individual projects like the Prysm [Prysmatic labs], Parity [ConsenSys], Lighthouse [Sigma Prime], he stated that these projects have started implementing their version of Casper and sharding client for Ethereum 2.0. He expects the projects to hit testing soon.

Furthermore, he stated that in parallel, the team will be working on the Testnet, formal verification of protocols, auditing protocol, protocol auditing of code and implementation, which will culminate into the Mainnet release.

Speaking about the rationale of having multiple companies working in parallel, he stated that the Ethereum community strongly believes in the idea of multiple implementations.

Buterin compared the Ethereum ecosystem with that of Bitcoin’s. He stated that they did not want to have failures of development and centralization, faced by the Bitcoin ecosystem due to single implementation.

He concluded by stating that it creates a competition between entities to create different implementations of the clients that people will eventually end up using.

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Ethereum to See Casper and Plasma With or Without Vitalik

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder and ubiquitous mouthpiece of Ethereum, hinted the start of his detachment from the operational side of his creation and …

Vitalik Buterin, co-founder and ubiquitous mouthpiece of Ethereum, hinted the start of his detachment from the operational side of his creation and dropped a series of bombshell announcements about the progress of the smart contract platform’s much-anticipated scalability enhancements, including Casper and Plasma.

In a tweet Oct. 6, Buterin claimed that the rubber has begun to hit the road for both Casper and Plasma, and that the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization could be seeing Zk-SNARK-enabled privacy in the not-too-distant future.

Regarding Casper, arguably the most coveted development in the Ethereum toolbox, the Russian-Canadian described the Proof-of-Stake and sharding solution as being “roughly finished”, and highlighted that more than four spec implementations of the technology were “well underway.” He stated:

1. Casper/sharding spec roughly finished, now in refinement stages

2. 4+ implementations of the spec well underway

3. Many implementations of plasma well underway

4. ZK-SNARK-based layer 2 scaling and privacy well underway

It’s a night-and-day difference from 2017.

— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 6, 2018

Vitalik: The King-Maker?

The latest news would invariably have perked up the ears of Ethereum proponents, many of whom would by now have become well-intimate with the mercurial nature of Casper’s roadmap.

Originally scheduled for lift-off this year, Casper’s launch deadline was pushed to 2020 when the Ethereum team scrapped plans to augment the blockchain with a hybrid PoW/PoW protocol.

55. In June 2018, we made the fateful decision to scrap “hybrid Casper FFG as a contract”, and instead pursue full Casper as an independent chain, designed in such a way that integrating sharding would be much easier.

— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) August 16, 2018

In an apparent attempt to stave off any inklings over Casper’s failure, Buterin cooked up a long-winded Tweet storm some months later, assuring Ethereans that a new solution was firmly on the table.

Related: Vitalik Buterin Goes on ‘Tweet Storm’ About Ethereum’s Casper

Whatever reassurances the famed programmer offered, however, would not appear to have satiated some of his community’s deep-seated concerns over Ethereum’s longevity, in the event Buterin were to step away. One user asked “any thoughts on how you will eventually detach yourself from the project?”

Yet Ethereum will flourish without its most renowned creator, or so Buterin suggested, claiming that he had “already” begun to flock the nest, and that “much” of the platform’s development was being pushed by a number of other developers.

I think ethereum can absolutely survive me spontaneously combusting tomorrow at this point.

— Vitalik Non-giver of Ether (@VitalikButerin) October 5, 2018

Cover Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

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Vlad Zamfir, Ethereum developer announces his vision on governing blockchain

In an article titled, My Intentions for Blockchain Governance, written by Vlad Zamfir, the Ethereum developer goes on to provide details on what his …

In an article titled, My Intentions for Blockchain Governance, written by Vlad Zamfir, the Ethereum developer goes on to provide details on what his idea of blockchain governance should be and the expected outcomes.

Some of the outcomes outlined in Zamfirs article that should be avoided in blockchain included autonomizing it, capture of blockchain governance, and internet censorship as blockchain governance. Without avoidance of these outcomes they will lead to the corruption of Blockchain as it was originally intended, a public utility platform, according to Zamfir.

Ethics and decentralisation are independent, according to Zamfir. Going towards decentralisation would be filled with danger. “Treating blockchain governance as a centralised software platform is a social obligation,” Zamfir states. “It will take a centralised governance approach to reverse the harm that a decentralised approach would cause,” Zamfir also states in his article. In his opinion, autonomous blockchain should be actively resisted because of this.

On the topic of internet censorship as blockchain governance, Zamfir sees censorship being inevitable as an outcome of autonomous blockchain. He believes that to avoid this, blockchain should be governed by global cooperation between self selecting members from the global public.

The proposed governance framework would follow blockchain according to international laws. This follows Zamfirs vision to make blockchain a global public utility platform that is outside private control, prioritizing public interest.

Zamfir’s idea of the future includes an accessible system of blockchain governance that can be achieved through tech and coding responsibility among a group effort creating blockchain platforms.

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