Blockchain is increasingly moving away from its ties to cryptocurrencies, and gaining traction in making supply chains more efficient and transparent. In support of that notion, news came that food and beverage juggernaut PepsiCo has trialed a blockchain project, resulting in a 28 percent gain in efficiency.

As reported by CoinDesk, the trial, “Project Proton,” was set to attack “industry challenges” in programmatic advertising. The company’s partner, media agency Mindshare, said that the trial, focused on supply chain reconciliation, used Zilliqa’s blockchain offering, and leveraged smart contracts to automate part of the supply chain. In addition, the 28 percent efficiency gains were measured in terms of cost per viewable impressions (where businesses pay for ads that are genuine).

In some corners, the view is less sanguine about blockchain’s ability to change supply chains. As Gartner estimated, as much as 90 percent of supply chain projects will suffer “blockchain fatigue” by 2023, as use cases prove less than widespread. A survey by the company — across 303 respondents spanning North America, South America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific — found that only 19 percent of respondents said blockchain remains “very important” for their firms, and only 9 percent had invested in blockchain supply chain projects. Among the reasons blockchain has not been delivering on its promise: The technology is so nascent that effective use cases have yet to be uncovered.

“Supply chain blockchain projects have mostly focused on verifying authenticity, improving traceability and visibility, and improving transactional trust,” said Alex Pradhan, Gartner senior principal research analyst. “However, most have remained pilot projects due to a combination of technology immaturity, lack of standards, overly ambitious scope and a misunderstanding of how blockchain could, or should, actually help the supply chain. Inevitably, this is causing the market to experience blockchain fatigue.”

According to Gartner’s research, and as quoted on iTWire, “companies are forced to run multiple development pilots using trial and error to find ones that might provide value. Additionally, the vendor ecosystem has not fully formed, and is struggling to establish market dominance. Another challenge is that supply chain organizations cannot buy an off-the-shelf, complete, packaged blockchain solution.”

Elsewhere this past week, Microsoft said it is looking into building a decentralized identity network that is underpinned by blockchain. The news came after the company said it would work with Starbucks on blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). This time around, Forbes said the Identity Overlay Network will use the bitcoin blockchain, and is based in an evolving set of open standards.

The company said, “We believe every person needs a decentralized, digital identity they own and control, backed by self-owned identifiers that enable secure, privacy-preserving interactions. This self-owned identity must seamlessly integrate into their lives, and put them at the center of everything they do in the digital world.”



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