Possible prospects for the blockchain usage in agriculture

It is impossible to conduct any activity without taking into account and document circulation. This thought is not new. But if the data is stored in one place, there is always a chance of losing or forging with it. Therefore, a lot of controversy today around the possibilities of the blockchain technology and its possible use in agriculture.

The blockchain system involves storing data on many servers

To begin with, the storage of data using this technology differs from the traditional version of the distribution of information over the network. In essence, each network member must keep his personal copy, which is encrypted with a private key. The principle of building records includes the obligatory division into blocks, each of which contains a link to its predecessors and descendants. Attempting to change any information leads to disruption of all links stored by each participant and this is immediately detected.

Data is stored on computers whose owners are unknown

In fact, the Blockchain technology does not protect the information as such, but creates the conditions under which interested parties can know at any time whether an attempt was made to counterfeit or not. In addition, if more than 50% of servers are in the same hands, fraud is quite possible. The traditional approach to storing information involves the use of one powerful server with a database that is protected from hacking from the Internet, but at the same time can be changed by its owner. And users have to hope that all information has not changed since its inception.

Blockchain is indispensable when publicity and reliability are needed

Here we immediately see one of the limitations of the Blockchain technology - it is acceptable for storing non-confidential data, since many computers on the network act as servers for storing data. But it is perfect for situations where openness and reliability are needed, therefore, the Wallmart supermarket chain says that it will soon require the introduction of the blockchain system from all green salad suppliers. Today it is known that Walmart and Nestlé, together with eight other companies, launched the Food Trust project, which, in their opinion, will help change the way food monitoring is conducted around the world.

After several episodes of food poisoning, when consumers of ordinary lettuce got to the hospital, traders were forced to look for more effective methods of monitoring and accounting for food. And for a salad, this system is just perfect. From the moment of shipment on the farm and before the sale in the store the salad will have only a single way. And in the case of food poisoning of one buyer, you can stop selling the defective batch in all stores within a few minutes. At least, so promise to do the developers.

Blockchain will not allow you to simply change one entry

And even if dishonest manufacturers try to change a batch number or something like that, distributed data storage will complicate this process. To change the information stored in such a network, a collective rollback is needed - when all computers that store information simultaneously return their records to an earlier state. In fact, this means not changing, but erasing the information after a certain date and possibly only with the consent of the majority of servers owners. Of course, for the storage of data you will need to pay a certain fee, for which cryptocurrency can be used.

In the case of the grain, everything will not be so easy

Green salad, berries, some fruits and vegetables are convenient to control on the way of transportation. But with the grain (and not only) such a system may fail. Even if a conscientious farmer raised wheat without the use of dangerous pesticides and collected them on time, which guarantees the absence of mold and other problems, his 2-3 thousand tons of grain will be delivered to the nearest granary. There they can be poured into a grain elevator (small by classification), with a capacity of up to 5,000 tons. Or bigger grain elevator, with a capacity of up to 100 thousand tons. In this case, the control will be partial - it will be known only what farms filled this or that bunker.

The technology blockchain gives new opportunities for accounting for the movement of goods, but is not a wonderful tool that solves all problems. Let's summarize the blockchain system in agriculture:

  • To store data in the blockchain, external servers are used (for which you will need to pay);
  • Due to the distribution of information between multiple servers, its loss and forgery are very problematic;
  • Due to storage on external servers, the system is not suitable for any information;
  • Transactions are irreversible, the exception is a complete rollback of the system state, called hardfork. Available with the consent of most servers owners;
  • Theoretically, if more than 50% of the servers are in the same hands it is possible to hack and fake data;
  • It is required to attract new specialists to implement this system;
  • This system is equally good not for all groups of agricultural products - let us recall the example of grain.

Perhaps in the future, such storage of information will be useful for accounting for agricultural machinery, vehicles or real estate.

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