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IBM makes its blockchain platform live

Tech giant explores blockchain's potential in the food industry with 10 firms

A hand using a mobile phone to scan a barcode on a box of fruit

IBM has made its Blockchain Platform available, aiming to help businesses provide permissioned, distributed ledger networks.

The company's blockchain technology is based upon Hyperledger Fabric V1 technology and is delivered and supported via the IBM Cloud to offer flexibility.

IBM is partnering with 10 firms in the food and drinks industry to explore blockchain's possibilities, including Nestl, Walmart and Unilever, to identify key areas of improvement in the global food supply chain.

Big Blue explained it wants to use its blockchain innovations to help stamp out the risk of food contamination and illness related to foodborne diseases by tracking the journey of foodstuffs as they move through the supply chain.

Not only will this mean the risk of illness can be monitored, but it could also reduce waste and improve messaging around safe storage and delivery of items.

It will be the first time such technology will be used to track the journey of food and will vastly improve accuracy of data, such as if the food is contaminated, what with, where it happened in the supply chain, and how much money it costs a company.

"IBM aims to capitalise on its head-start in offering a ready-to-go blockchain, exploiting its customer base and IBM Cloud's reach," analyst firm TechMarketView's research director, Peter Roe, said.

"Other companies will develop competitive offerings, but IBM's approach and market-stimulating initiative will mean that many aspiring blockchain providers and users will look to IBM for leadership."

IBM will now seek to build a community around its blockchain technology, inviting universities including Fordham University, University of Arkansas, University at Buffalo and University of British Columbia to fund research grants and host workshops and hackathons around the technology to foster innovation.

Picture credit: IBM

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