Blockchains have the potential to completely revolutionise global trade. By putting a supply chain on a blockchain provenance can be traced, valuable items can be protected and trade can be made more efficient.
Blockchains are already being used to manage the supply chains of valuable goods like diamonds or artwork. The application of a blockchain to China's pork supply chain makes sense here too. While pork is not a particularly valuable commodity, tracing provenance will prevent costly contamination episodes and recalls. Specific cases like high value goods (or indeed pork) where blockchains can add the most value will speed adoption, but the wider potential is to replace huge swathes of the supply chain industry; a trillion dollar industry dominated by a complex network of intermediaries that add little value.
Following multiple reports of contamination in both China’s food and drug industries, the China Food and Drug Administration earlier this year proposed the adoption of measures to improve product traceability. While the push for more stringent supply chain controls by the government was cited in today's statement as a "critical step" toward helping eliminate contamination, increased regulation is usually accompanied by higher prices.