South Korea to Track Beef Through Entire Supply Chain on a Blockchain

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A blockchain technology pilot aimed at tracking beef through the entire food supply chain has been announced in South Korea.

The pilot will be jointly undertaken by the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, according to Yonhap News Agency. The launch date has been set for next month in North Jeolla Province and after a brief trial period, there will be a formal unveiling of the blockchain application in January next year.

Currently, a paper-based reporting system is used to track cattle from birth to slaughter and then from the packaging of the beef to distribution to consumers. This system is time-consuming and resource-intensive besides not being fraud-proof since there is a risk of forged certificates. The blockchain-based system is expected to enhance efficiency and prevent fraud due to the immutable nature of distributed ledger technology.

Heavily Invested in Blockchain Technology

The beef-tracking blockchain pilot is just the latest vote of confidence in distributed ledger technology by the South Korean government. In August, the South Korean government announced that it was earmarking US$4.4 billion in its budget for 2019 to go towards eight critical sectors including blockchain, big data and artificial intelligence.

“The government will focus on promoting big data and AI, developing blockchain technology to ensure data management security and boosting the sharing economy,” the South Korean finance ministry said in a statement three months ago as CCN reported.

The country’s Ministry of Science and ICT has also embarked on promoting education and training on blockchain technology with a view of preparing the youth for what it has dubbed the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’. This has seen blockchain technology now featuring in the syllabus of recently-introduced courses.

Blockchain Proponent

One notable champion of blockchain technology in South Korea’s government has been the finance minister, Kim Dong-yeon, who sees the technology as possessing the potential to transform the world.

As CCN reported three months ago, the finance minister is on record as saying that blockchain technology could emerge as a critical pillar of the 4th Industrial Revolution:

“Blockchain technology has the potential to become one of the core infrastructures of the fourth industrial revolution. The development of blockchain technology can really change the world.”

Besides using distributed ledger technology to track beef in the entire supply chain, another notable blockchain pilot backed by the South Korean government involved using blockchain applications in paying out insurance claims. In this project, the Ministry of Science and ICT picked the Kyobo Life Insurance firm alongside startups in the InsurTech and medical record services sector to spearhead the pilot.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

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