World Economic Forum Turns to Blockchain to Aid Global Supply Chain

On Monday, the World Economic Forum, or WEF, gave a statement that blockchain technology and digitization has the capacity to support the world’s supply lines and help it survive the COVID-19 crisis.

Liao and Fan: Transparency Is Key

Rebecca Liao, the Executive Vice President of the Skychain blockchain enterprise firm, and Ziyang Fan, the Head of Digital Trade at the WEF, co-wrote a blog post. This blog post stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has come to force a large number of companies to battle an unexpectedly delicate supply chain. Even so-called “Solid” supply chains have been broken apart due to the global need to isolate during this severe pandemic. This, in turn, prompted the experts of the world to reiterate an old narrative: The visibility of the supply chain must be increased.

The reasoning behind this argument, written by both authors, is that many end-chain companies only know the immediate history of the various sourced parts. As the article states, these companies tend to have little or even no knowledge of the suppliers operating further up the chain; thus, they were incapable of realizing that the supply chain would collapse in on itself. The previous steps of the supply chain were quite literally uncalculated elements for many companies.

Blockchain’s Trustless Methodologies

As such, both authors state that blockchain technology stands at an ideal position to ensure data remains transparent across all steps in the supply chain. Blockchain technology can allow for this, without compromising corporate privacy in the process. A blockchain network, if built correctly, would be capable of giving an extensive range of access to the relevant parties, while also allowing the purchase of supply chain data from their various up-stream suppliers.

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The two authors wrote that blockchain technology presents itself as the ideal format of technology to ensure that data can be shared, particularly in regards to performance and risk. This information can be shared in an authenticated format, doing so with financiers and other parties involved in the transaction, even if there’s no direct relationship between these two entities to speak of.

New Age Of Stay-At-Home Business

The digitization of records is another partial solution to the crisis, according to Liao and Fan’s article. A digitized supply chain would allow for a higher level of access when one compares it to paper copies. During this age of shuttered offices at orders to stay at home, paper documents may very well be out of reach, according to the article.