Real Cases of How Businesses are Leveraging Permissioned Blockchains

Kieren James-Lubin, President & CEO, BlockApps
Kieren James-Lubin, President & CEO, <a href='' rel='nofollow' target='_blank' style='color:blue !important'>BlockApps</a>

Kieren James-Lubin, President & CEO, BlockApps

BlockApps was founded in 2015 and built around our core offering STRATO — a standalone implementation of the Ethereum protocol that’s been optimized for enterprise use cases with built-in privacy. We solved the problem of permissioning — that is, knowing who everyone is on the network, as opposed to allowing anybody to join. STRATO’s permissioned blockchain goes further in isolating the data itself, so that businesses can share data on a per-counterparty basis. These two features, privacy and permissioning, were major innovations that got a lot of businesses over the hurdle to begin adopting the technology.

Let me speak to those hurdles a bit more. When it comes to blockchain adoption overall, enterprises rightfully have a lot of objections. They don’t want to use public chains because they don’t want to be tied to a floating cryptocurrency, and they can’t account for it on their balance sheet. Furthermore, even if transactions are pseudonymous, they’re on an open, public ledger forever, so enterprises are not comfortable putting proprietary business data there. With a blockchain like STRATO, enterprises don’t have to share their data with everybody, but the infrastructure makes it convenient to share data with other parties when they want to, with authentication of security, quality, and origin and without disclosing any proprietary business details. We call this sharing data on a “need to know basis,” balancing the security enterprises require with the convenience they are looking for.

Sustainability, permissioned blockchains, and TraceCarbon

Permissioned blockchain solutions like STRATO are beginning to play a key role in sustainability initiatives. Currently, over 90% of S&P 500 companies are producing sustainability reports, up from 20% in 2011. There is huge secular pressure to have a positive sustainability standing and be more transparent in operations with respect to emissions, materials sourcing, labor used, etc. that is driving the need for a network technology that can help improve claims about a wide value chain that couldn’t be done before. The EU already requires disclosure and auditing of carbon footprints of large companies, and the US is poised to begin doing so, including Scope 3 emissions. Permissioned blockchains will be used to drive these network efforts, helping them do the calculations privately but made auditable by a third party. These calculations will also be able to be done in a more automated fashion than how it’s done today, which is labor intensive, difficult to track, and error prone. This is where the BlockApps TraceCarbon application comes into play.

​STRATO’s permissioned blockchain further isolates the data itself so businesses can share data on a per-counterparty basis 

TraceCarbon allows enterprises to assign footprints to activities in complex value chains by providing templates for activities and means to do the calculations. In supply chains, we must now add data that wasn’t present previously in the commercial process. Instead of just tracking purchase orders, invoices, shipments, etc., TraceCarbon helps enterprises capture footprints, what kind of practices were employed, and pulls all kinds of IOT data to support these activities and claims. TraceCarbon stores this new data, allowing it to be proved to an auditor or regulator, but only final specified data can be publicly disclosed.

Other successful implementations of STRATO

BlockApps’ first major network TraceHarvest focuses on agribusiness value chain traceability, proving production practices from seed to fork. The driving force here is twofold. Consumers want to know more about what they’re buying and consuming, and businesses need a better grasp on operations to prove production practices. To accomplish this, TraceHarvest allows supply chain participants to connect and share data efficiently and securely, creating a fully verifiable record, or ‘single source of truth,’ of activities and transactions. This not only allows businesses to prove and showcase production practices, but comes along with a whole host of other benefits to business operations. For one, this single source of truth allows for standardized, automated compliance checks and auditing capabilities. It also drives the availability of real-time inventory and logistics information, enabling better future planning, pricing decisions, inventory management, and revenue forecasting capabilities.

There are several other use cases in production on STRATO that will continue to see growth and adoption in. For example, we are working on several engagements managing complex projects and deliveries, where we are focused on connecting systems across organizations. The business problem that we are solving for here is mismatches in data across accounting systems that cause payment delays. The creation of a shared multi-party data and infrastructure layer allows for validation of claims and automation of workflows, and ultimately drive efficiencies within the business. Another example would be creating a decentralized digital library for seismic data and ownership rights throughout its lifecycle. In this case, we leverage smart contracts to navigate complex contracts and administer and enforce rights management automatically and securely. This solution enables permanent recordkeeping and traceability of seismic entitlements throughout their lifecycle and acts as a trusted source for all stakeholders in the industry.