A Switzerland-based startup called FoodBlockchain.XYZ is making a bid to become a leading blockchain technology provider to the food supply chain. While FoodBlockchain.XYZ is not the only player in this space, the startup has received funding from several sources and is one of 14 projects selected by the SparkLabs IoT Accelerator.
FoodBlockchain.XYZ will manage commercial relationships among different actors in the supply chain through the introduction of its own token, Foodcoin. The token will be used between different intermediaries – farmers and food manufacturers; manufacturers and retailers) – to ensure compliance with quality and safety standards.
FoodBlockchain.XYZ will build sensors for collecting data throughout the supply chain, but other available sensors will be integrated. “In the early phases we will only provide the protocol, smart contract templates and software; later on we will start manufacturing our own hardware solutions,” company CEO Angel Versetti told CCN.
The system will provide data insights into the financial and socio-environmental costs and benefits of sourcing food from different suppliers, enabling companies to purchase raw inputs from those suppliers that offer the best combination of price, quality and socio-environmental indicators.
Food producers will be better able to ensure that the quality of products that went into manufacturing meets their requirements. They will be able to create ID tags for food batches or individual food units. The ID tag can be used to trace food items throughout the supply chain and prevent counterfeiting.
Consumers will be able to view the history of the product they purchase and check what farms the ingredients came from. The information can indicate how polluted a region is, whether the farmer follows good practices, and delivery and processing conditions.
Consumers will also be able to reward farmers that follow sustainable agricultural practices by sending them a fraction of Foodcoin. This could establish a new reputation system for farmers and food suppliers and enable new connections among consumers and producers.
The system will be designed to resolve disputes automatically through Ethereum smart contracts and data supplied by sensors. The smart contracts will release funds to the proper party, preventing lengthy investigations and costly cash constraints.
Going forward, FoodBlockchain.XYZ will conduct safety and quality audits. “We will present our solution to the Swiss Association for Quality and Management Systems, whose president, Xaver Edelmann, has endorsed our startup,” Versetti said. “We will then explore the possibilities of partnerships to perform safety and quality audits, either independently or in line with existing standards and regulations.”
The founding team has been working in the food quality assurance domain for more than 25 years and has been developing a unified food quality assurance system that would end the fragmentation of information flow and accountability in the supply chain.
“For a long time, it was technologically challenging to bring this about,” Versetti said. “With the emergence of bitcoin blockchain, the vision came closer to be realized, but with the limited ability to code on top of the bitcoin, this was still challenging.”
“With Ethereum blockchain allowing a Turing-complete language, we have fully unlocked the creative ability of the team to create dedicated smart contracts, protocol and decentralized software to fit the purpose,” he said. “It will serve to make food supply chains more effective, efficient and equitable.”
FoodBlockchain.XYZ is currently in private testing with the quality assurance departments of two companies. The company is working with food companies in Switzerland, Germany, France and Iceland. It has also received interest from the United Arab Emirates, Italy and Russia.
“We are planning to showcase our first software version this June and make a wider release of a private alpha version of software coupled with a functional prototype of our hardware equipment by September,” Versetti said. “We will also be releasing public demonstration of the functionality of the blockchain platform and sensory systems in the upcoming months.”
“We are different from many other startups in this domain because we offer an integrative solution consisting of hardware, protocol and software,” Versetti said. “Our team also consists of a mix of experienced senior food industry veterans and young dynamic developers from the blockchain space. We combine experience and wisdom of our senior members with agility and innovation of our young members. All our team members have stellar achievements.”
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