Blockchain for Provenance and Traceability
ScienceSoft applies 34 years of experience in IT and proficiency in supply chain management and blockchain development to design and build robust blockchain solutions for provenance and traceability.
Blockchain for Provenance and Traceability: The Essence
When used for provenance and traceability, blockchain provides full visibility of goods-related data and transactions, facilitates tracking of products provenance, helps assure goods authenticity and origin, prevent fraud and counterfeiting.
Market Info: Blockchain for Provenance and Traceability
The global blockchain market was estimated at $6 billion in 2021. It is forecasted to reach $56.7 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 56.9%. Increasing demand for facilitated tracking of inventory and asset provenance and end-to-end traceability of goods-related events and transactions is the main driver for the popularity of specialized blockchain solutions across various industries, from food manufacturing and fashion retail to healthcare and real estate.
How Blockchain for Provenance and Traceability Works
A sample architecture
In the blockchain network for provenance and traceability, once validated and encrypted, data and transactions are stored in timestamped blocks linked in chronological order. The blocks form an immutable distributed ledger that serves as a database shared by multiple authorized parties and provides a single source of truth to verify the provenance of assets and inventory. Network participants interact with the distributed ledger to transact and trace data using role-specific web applications.
Main use cases
Supply chain and logistics management
End-to-end traceability of multi-party obligations, goods shipment and payments across multiple supply chain tiers. Assuring the supply authenticity and origin, which is critical for particular kinds of inventory (e.g., drugs, food products, electronic components).
Immutable asset records for various industries, from real estate and entertainment to luxury retail and additive manufacturing, to prove asset provenance and prevent fraud and counterfeiting.
Management of legal ownership documents
An immutable audit trail of all manipulations across legal documents that serve as proof of ownership, including document creation, editing, viewing and sharing.
Providing proof of goods provenance and a full history of all multi-party transactions for transparent resolution of claim disputes, e.g., on goods quality or authenticity.
Traceability of multi-party transactions
A distributed ledger available to the blockchain network participants provides an immutable record and real-time view of all transactions between the involved parties.
Protocols that enable automated enforcement of fixed obligations under multi-party agreements (e.g., making payments, transfer of responsibility or ownership) upon the pre-defined events.
All transactions between the blockchain network participants, including those initiated by smart contracts, are automatically validated, timestamped and recorded in the distributed ledger.
Product provenance tracking
Data on the product journey from raw material origin through transportation, processing, manufacturing, and quality check across different locations and responsible parties can be tracked in the blockchain by multiple parties at any point.
Consensus-based data validation
The rules for automated validation of transactions and prioritization of their processing and storage are specified by pre-defined consensus protocols, e.g., proof-of-stake (for public blockchains) or selective endorsement (for private or consortium blockchains).
A hash value, which serves as a unique cryptographic identifier, is automatically generated for each piece of data in the blockchain network. Even a minor change in the data leads to the change in all the output hash values, which makes it tamper-evident.
Blockchain data safety is achieved with multi-factor authentication, fraud detection algorithms, data encryption (including asymmetric encryption for public blockchains), and more.
Configurable access rights
In case of private or consortium blockchain, the rights to transact, view or share data can be configured for various participants.
A Success Story of Blockchain for Provenance and Traceability by ScienceSoft
ScienceSoft’s team has designed and developed a private blockchain network that enables end-to-end traceability of supply chain transactions and facilitates assuring the provenance of raw materials and finished products.
Main benefit: Users enjoy the minimized risk of counterfeiting while having advanced integrity and security of supply chain transaction data.
Technology Stack for Blockchain Implementation
The Challenges of Blockchain for Provenance and Traceability
Challenge #1: High quality of input data
Once recorded in the blockchain ledger, data becomes immutable. Low-quality input data is bound to remain stored in the blockchain, which can result in inaccurate product provenance identification or the incorrect resolution of product quality and asset ownership claims.
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The blockchain solution can be powered with AI, which provides intelligent data reconciliation to ensure data accuracy and fraud detection, identify suspicious transactions, and prevent their upload into the system.
Challenge #2: Continuous upload of supply chain data
Blockchain needs to continuously collect all available supply chain data to maintain a complete history of data on product provenance, location, and storage conditions and trace products in real time. Thus, the solution has to seamlessly integrate with all relevant software tools (including legacy ones) of multiple blockchain network participants.
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Well-documented integration APIs help the blockchain solution enable fast and smooth connection to multiple data sources, including back-office software or sensors (e.g., to trace temperature-sensitive food products or drugs). However, the APIs have limited application when blockchain needs integration with legacy software. In this case, the blockchain solution may require custom-built integrations.
Costs of Blockchain-Based Software for Provenance and Traceability
The cost of blockchain development varies greatly depending on:
- Blockchain network type (private, public, consortium, hybrid).
- The type of consensus (PoW, PoS, selective endorsement, etc.).
- The number and complexity of a solution’s functional modules, including smart contracts.
- The number and complexity of web and/or mobile applications for various user groups (e.g., suppliers, end consumers, LSPs) to interact with the blockchain solution.
- The volume of data to be migrated from spreadsheets and/or existing supply chain management software.
- The number and complexity of integrations with required software (e.g., ERP, accounting software, selling platforms).
- Application availability, performance and security requirements.
- Blockchain interoperability capabilities.
- The required deliverable (PoC, MVP, a full-scale solution), which influences the duration of blockchain development.
From ScienceSoft’s experience, the development cost for an MVP of blockchain-based provenance and traceability software will be around $80,000–$150,000. A full-featured blockchain solution that comprises a private network and smart contracts requires $400,000–$1,500,000+ in investments.
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Blockchain for Provenance and Traceability Consulting and Development by ScienceSoft
Since 2020, ScienceSoft offers end-to-end blockchain development services to introduce reliable blockchain solutions for facilitated traceability of data and transactions and goods provenance monitoring.
Blockchain for provenance and traceability consulting
- Analyzing your business needs and eliciting requirements to a blockchain system for provenance and traceability.
- Suggesting optimal blockchain network type (private, public, consortium, hybrid), architecture design, and tech stack.
- Providing a detailed feature set for the blockchain system for provenance and traceability.
- Preparing an integration plan with required software (e.g., ERP, accounting software, selling platforms).
- Blockchain security consulting.
- Delivering a roadmap for blockchain system implementation and a risk mitigation plan.
Blockchain for provenance and traceability development
- Blockchain for provenance and traceability needs analysis.
- Blockchain software conceptualization.
- Architecture design of the blockchain for provenance and traceability.
- Blockchain for provenance and traceability development.
- Integrating the blockchain system into an existing software ecosystem.
- Testing and quality assurance.
- User training.
- Blockchain software support and evolution (if required).
ScienceSoft is a global IT consulting and software development company headquartered in McKinney, Texas. Since 2020, we help businesses implement blockchain for improved traceability of data and transactions. In our blockchain projects, we employ robust quality management and data security management systems supported by ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certificates.