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The Quest for Better Supply Chain Logistics Continues, with the Help of Arweave

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Traxa.io, a blockchain initiative that aims to unify the data tracking of shipping containers, showcased one of its features through an NFT minting event that took place earlier this week. They encouraged users to take a picture with their phone and mint it as an NFT. The NFT would be visible on an interactive map where the images would be pinned according to the location where the photos were taken.

Traxa.io is one of the projects supported by Arweave’s Open Web Foundry initiative to launch its MVP during last summer’s event. Since then they have been continuing to develop and refine their product and the current feature, which stands for their submission to the ETH Global hackathon, represents only another piece of the puzzle in the search for product-market fit.

The industry they are trying to tackle is the circulatory system of the world’s economy. A complex amalgamation of infrastructures, located both on water and inland that transports our physical goods everywhere around the globe. A tiny improvement of the supply chain will cascade into improvements around a vast area of seemingly unrelated topics from world poverty to carbon emissions.

If we zoom out and try to look at the global supply chain as a whole, we’ll see that it’s composed not only by the actual flow of goods but by all the interactions between buyers, suppliers, banks, shipment companies, insurance companies, all to them communicating through different channels in order to create a simple movement of a dot on a map. There is an interesting article about how blockchain could change the actual dynamic of this entire economical sector, promoting blockchain technology like the “transparent way” in which the supply chain can be built. Even if it touts the use of private chains, there is no need to worry: private chains are gateway drugs for corporations to further dive into the full experience.

 

The financial ledgers and enterprise resource planning systems now used don’t reliably allow the three parties involved in a simple supply-chain transaction to see all the relevant flows of information, inventory, and money. A blockchain system eliminates the blind spots.

In the example above, the authors were pointing out how different will look a simple supply-chain transaction would look if it was conducted through a blockchain, versus the way is conducted now.

Solutions like Traxa.io are in their early days, pushing into production different functionalities that could become in the future parts of a fully integrated supply industry on-chain. Open ledgers that contain all the interactions made to move every physical good, from its transaction to its actual journey around the globe. An integrated network of dApps used by the actors involved in the supply chain and of physical devices that could transmit real-time data about the position or the state of the cargo.

Even more, blockchain technology evolved in such a way that now, the limitations considered by the authors of the cited article no longer apply:

It’s important to note that a blockchain would not replace the broad range of transaction-processing, accounting, and management-control functions performed by ERP systems, such as invoicing, payment, and reporting. Indeed, the encrypted linked list or chainlike data structure of a blockchain is not suited for fast storage and retrieval—or even efficient storage. Instead, the blockchain would interface with legacy systems across participating firms.

How can one state that fast storage and retrieval are not compatible with blockchain structures in the era of Arweave? All the internal, legacy systems of different companies could become a part of permaweb. The single thing that is hindering this progress is just a biased mindset that made even the transition from internal data centers to cloud storage happen relatively late in the corporate sphere. Their obsession with corporate secrecy will slowly melt over time.

When this revolution will take place and Arweave will become its storage layer we’ll have another unsuspecting perk: years, decades, and probably even centuries of recorded trade history. A well of data that never was unified at such a level of accuracy to be studied by future generations. Imagine the patterns that could emerge from its study, the correlations that could be made with other fields of research. One single company from the supply chain adopting this technology will be enough to start a domino effect in the entire industry.


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