Retrospective of the Adnovum blockchain event, March 15, 2018
The first Adnovum conference in French-speaking Switzerland attracted a large audience to listen to two speeches on concrete uses of blockchain technology. In the first speech, Tomás Vera, Global IS/IT lead for Digital Innovation in Operations at Nestlé, presented his experience of using the blockchain in food supply chains to improve product traceability. In the second part of the evening, our colleague Leo Bolchanine, Senior IT Consultant specialized in security at Adnovum Lausanne, spoke about the Digital Car Dossier and security aspects of blockchain technology.
Data integrity is a core benefit of the blockchain
Blockchain technology allows having a shared ledger between several participants. Each participant operates a node of the network. Each entry in the ledger occupies one block. As soon as new information is added, it is added to all nodes as new block. The data written in the new block are linked to the data of the previous blocks by cryptographic methods. Thus, it is impossible for the operator of a single node to modify the data without others noticing.
Both of our speakers illustrated the value of multiple nodes in the blockchain for the integrity of data stored using different metaphors.
Leo Bolchanine illustrated the protection against data corruption by taking the example of religious communities. The fact that all members of the community memorize religious texts ensures that none of the group members can alter the text on their own initiative. This mechanism protects the text from alterations while allowing its transmission.
Tomás Vera, for his part, illustrated this benefit of the blockchain by talking about marriages celebrated before the invention of the civil register. The civil register is now the trusted third party that maintains the data. Before its invention, marriages were celebrated in front of the whole village, he explained, so that often numerous witnesses could attest to the union.
Concrete applications of the blockchain
Blockchain technology makes it possible to record information in a chain between several participants who do not necessarily trust each other and without the need for a trusted third party. It is very interesting in the food industry to follow a consumer product from the producer, to the processor, to the wholesaler, to the distribution stores and finally to the consumer. An experiment was done by Nestlé and Walmart, Tomás Vera explained, with the canned squash puree sold in the United States in autumn. The technology worked, partners operated their nodes and the project improved traceability of the product. He also spoke of other similar pilot projects whose results have been equally encouraging.
Leo Bolchanine presented the "Car Dossier": a project that Adnovum is developing in cooperation with the University of Zurich (Department of Computer Science, Prof. Gerhard Schwabe), the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences – Computer Science (Prof. Ursula Sury), AMAG, AXA, Mobility and the Road Traffic Office of the canton of Aargau. Please read more about the Blockchain Car Dossier here.