The technology enabling an age of radical transparency within business

As part of our Harnessing Hyperconnectivity series we've invited previous VOOM winner, Olly Bolton, to tell us about his new business venture and how the technology behind it is offering businesses the chance to become radically transparent...

After spending the last couple of years exploring different solutions we’re excited to be launching our new blockchain based platform, Almond. In this age of radical transparency there is growing pressure on brands to be transparent and open about their products and services. Almond occupies a new and unique position, helping brands become radically transparent.

The Almond blockchain platform allows consumers to scan a unique code hidden on a product, which then rewards them with brand tokens (they can be redeemed for cash) and reveals the scanned product’s personal history and story. The platform gives brands a way to digitise their products, giving consumers access to detailed supply chain data and product information. Almond allows brands to build deeper relationships with their customers by building trust through product transparency, whilst also acting as a platform to reward their most loyal consumers.

Some of the reasons why we’ve chosen to build Almond on a blockchain platform include:

  1. Distributed ledger. Copies of all information are shared among participants.
  2. Digital. All information is digitised.
  3. Time-stamped. Connected blocks on information provide a trail of the underlying transaction.
  4. Cryptography. Blocks of information are cryptographically sealed in the chain.
  5. Immutable data. It is practically impossible to delete or edit already created blocks.
  6. Failure-resistant. Even if a large number of participants fail the blockchain remains available.

Blockgeeks use a great analogy to help understand how a blockchain works: "Picture a spreadsheet that is duplicated thousands of times across a network of computers. Then imagine that this network is designed to regularly update this spreadsheet and you have a basic understanding of the blockchain."

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Essentially the data is constantly reconciled into the database, which is stored in multiple locations and updated instantly. This means that the records are public and verifiable. Since there’s no central location, it’s also harder to hack since the data exists simultaneously in millions of places.

On the Almond platform the 'Almond TRAIL' shows the full product supply chain & ingredients data. Customers can dig down into a specific ingredient’s traceability and see who supplied each component and where each ingredient originated. Each ingredient has an external owner, the top 'tier 1' supplier, who then signs-off the data in that specific ingredient TRAIL strand. This signed-off ingredient data is then sent to the co-packer who confirms all ingredients have been received and that the product has been manufactured to specification. This data is then packaged into a smart contract and deployed on the Ethereum blockchain. The blockchain TX hash is then linked back to the application to confirm authenticity.

This radical transparency not only benefits consumers allowing them to know exactly what they’re putting inside their bodies, but will also hopefully empower them to push other brands to adopt a similar level of openness and transparency with their products. Brands that offer this radical transparency will also hopefully benefit from deeper consumer relationships and are able to build a relationship built on trust and openness with their customers.

Looking to the future, blockchains have many applications within the consumer product world and could be used for agreements, contracts, tracking and payments. As every transaction is recorded on a block and across multiple copies of the ledger that are distributed over many computers, it is a highly transparent solution for these applications.

Focusing on supply chains, using blockchain we are able to create a system where every time a product changes hands, the transaction can be documented, creating a permanent history of a product’s movement, from farm to fork. This dramatically reduces time delays, added costs, and human error, which is a huge issue with many supply chain transactions today.

Some supply chains are already using this technology and the benefits include:

  • Tracking purchase orders, change orders, receipts, shipment notifications, or other trade-related documents.
  • Sharing information about manufacturing process, assembly, delivery, and maintenance of products with suppliers and sellers.
  • Linking physical goods to RFID digital tags, serial numbers, barcodes.
  • Recording the quantity and transfer of assets - i.e. pallets, trailers, containers, etc. - as they move around the supply chain.
  • Assigning and verifying certifications or certain properties of physical products; for example determining if a food product is organic or fair trade.

In summary, it’s a very exciting time to be working in the blockchain space and as more brands adopt this disruptive technology it will hopefully allow us to build a more secure, fair and open world.

To learn more about Almond please visit Almond.io and you can download the Almond app today in the Apple & Google Play app stores.

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