BeefLedger – Streamlining Transactions in the Beef Supply Chain
Service Commercial Services
Food Agility CRC
Food fraud is a A$40 billion-a-year problem globally. In response, BeefLedger is a blockchain technology-enabled beef provenance tracking and credentialing platform. It employs export smart contracts to streamline cross-border payments. The platform strengthens consumer confidence and protects Australia as a premium producer of safe, high quality produce.
Credentialing a product to give beef buyers, whether wholesale or retail, domestic or overseas, the confidence they get what they paid for was the challenge; and to achieve this at high volume / low cost. Our technology suite removes doubt, which in turn strengthens the price and demand for the credentialed product. Additional challenges on the pathway to a solution required us to achieve an artful integration of business acumen (trade relationships between producers in Australia and consumers in China), high-tech technology (AgTech, blockchain, Internet of Things), and academic excellence (transdisciplinary expertise in design, international trade law, and behavioural economics).
The design comprises an agile, state-of-the-art blockchain based food credentialing platform and an innovative commercial service. (a) The technology component uses RFID scanning to securely register data assets directly on the Blockchain. Export smart contracts are used to streamline cross-border payments and digitise the quality assurance checks along the supply chain. (b) The commercial service employs this platform to give Australian food producers – for the first time – direct export access into China whilst maintaining their brand identity. The design challenge called for an evolving and socially engaging solution, which this multi-dimensional industry-led research collaboration between QUT and BeefLedger delivered.
Commercial: BeefLedger improves the financial viability of beef producers. Blockchain credentialing and mechanism design are combined to reduce food fraud and restore consumer trust. Export smart contracts level the risk profile offering Australian farmers a better market position.
Social: BeefLedger secures the prosperity of Australian beef producers. It also opens new career pathways for people in regional Australia, creating demand for new professions, e.g. IoT, data science, creative producers of food provenance.
Environmental: Behind country of origin, Chinese consumers are most concerned about animal welfare. BeefLedger credentials ecological impact data incentivising efforts to improve animal welfare and reduce carbon footprints.
The BeefLedger design solution achieved a world first in creating the ability to upload to the blockchain a file containing multiple assets via RFID scanning, which can be queried individually.
Our design entails a novel approach of data being proposed and then validated by other ecosystem members. Within a conventional supply chain there is always a collusion risk. We have mitigated this by creating a system where all actors can be validators of data. This – coupled with the ease of proposing data by all the actors – encourages everyone to participate. Our android app works very simply keeping a "business as usual approach" to encourage industry adoption. We are mindful that we are often engaging with non tech people and endeavour to ensure the system remains easy to use and understand, which then leads to wider adoption and thus stronger data integrity.
BeefLedger’s multi-signatory function is also particularly noteworthy, as it allows a varying number of validators to verify a transaction, e.g., if the transaction is between parties known to each other, they may only require a 2 of 5 response. However, if the transaction is between strangers they may require a higher number.