How ProvenienceX is building a 5G, IoT-enabled blockchain platform for product traceability, supply chain efficiency
Blockchain technology use cases in crypto, NFTs (non-fungible tokens), decentralised finance, among others have skyrocketed on public blockchains such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others.
Entrepreneur Aashutosh Bhardvaj, like some others, is more interested in the potential of blockchain in business use cases around logistics, product traceability and supply chain management.
In fact, his vision is to build a 5G and IoT-enabled blockchain platform to enable businesses to achieve product traceability, automated data collection, efficiency in logistics, and transparent and seamless supply chain management.
To this end, he is building— a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) based platform on Ethereum featuring dashboards for businesses to trace supply chains and a mobile app for users to trace a product’s entire history and life cycle.
“We envision a safe and transparent world for consumers and businesses alike. Users want to ensure products like food, clothes etc are safe, or they want to support sustainable products, ethical sourcing, fair trade, and so on. With ProvenienceX, every stage of the supply chain is recorded on decentralised databases, and can be accessed by participants,” he tells The Decrypting Story in an interview.
Adopting the right kind of blockchain tech
ProvenienceX is not the first project looking to help enterprises optimise their supply chains using blockchain.
Many projects have built private blockchain use cases on top of solutions like Hyperledger Fabric, but such private solutions have been criticised for their non-permissionless nature (leading to a lack of security), lack of incentivisation on the network, perceived lack of immutability, and more.
“Blockchain alone doesn’t solve the problem companies have. Firms need to adopt tech that is scalable and speaks to the languages it employs, and not become a hindrance,” explains Aashutosh.
According to him, the differentiator for ProvenienceX is its thesis for keeping certain types of data private, while allowing other types to be publicly visible on a Layer 1 chain.
This is a concept quite similar to Zero Knowledge (ZK) proofs, but not quite the same in terms of how they’re applied currently. In ZK applications on Layer 2 solutions, smart contracts process and verify that bundled transactions are valid off the main Layer 1 chain.
ZK rollups thus allow for the validation of blocks in a cheaper, faster, and privacy-focused manner, thereby allowing builders and developers to use Ethereum at scale.
However, ProvenienceX is currently being built directly on top of Ethereum, and does not use a Layer 2 chain. Going forward, Aashutosh says its possible ProvenienceX may build its own Layer-1 chain.
How the platform works
On the ProvenienceX platform, enterprises can check batches of products and trace batch details of a product, who created it, find details of the companies which manufactured and processed the ingredients, and so on.
“Whoever produces a batch of products, or the raw materials, enters the data, assigns it to the next entity on the chain, then the next person processes it, and sends it further up the supply chain till the product goes into the retail market,” Aashutosh says, explaining:
“For instance, a company can see the data added by a farmer when certain raw materials enter the supply chain. No frivolous players can enter the chain since only authorised parties can enter data, and everything is visible.”
To achieve consensus on the ProvenienceX platform, there is a Proof of Authority mechanism, wherein any authorised party can enter data.
On the consumer side, users can leverage the mobile app to enter a product’s batch number, or scan its QR code, to reveal the entire history and supply chain of the product. Users can thus trace it back to where the farming first happened, view images uploaded by farmers, view certificates of authenticity, and so on.
Aashutosh explains that these features add a strong element of anti-counterfeiting to ProvenienceX’s value proposition.
Although some blockchain industry experts believe Layer-2 solutions (which are faster and more efficient for crypto and NFT transactions) are the way to go, Aashutosh believes the business use cases for Layer 1 solutions are only getting started.
“Blockchain use cases for Layer 1 chains are maturing for fintech applications, but beyond this, we are still early, and there are several possibilities for adding nuances and making blockchains hack-proof at the enterprise level,” he says.