Provenance private blockchain supply chain solution

Provenance is a UK Business Angel Association Awardee[1] in 2017. What has attracted investors and companies into this London-based supply chain project?The Provenance provides a platform for businesses to make their products and supply chain more traceable and transparent. The main goal that the Provenance private blockchain seeks to achieve entails the accurate tracing of results of a product’s journey throughout a specific supply chain. This has been an essential motive for the company since explained by the CEO Jessi Baker, the project started with a frustration of knowing so little about the origin of our purchased food products.[2]

Provenance will initially be providing a solution to a growing need, as more and more customers and governments are demanding transparency of the supply chain history of products. This is to not only prevent health and safety problems, but also environmental and social issues concerning the trust in certain brands.

Provenance private blockchain

How does provenance function?

The core technology of Provenance seeks to ensure the traceability of products by the usage of a cryptographic ledger; a blockchain. The reason why provenance opts for a blockchain-based solution is due to the fact that centralised models fail to account for transparency. The Provenance private blockchain works by labelling a product and identifying it on the blockchain through every single step of the supply chain. The authenticity of a product will be marked by a digital passport. In other words, it will show what the product is and what it claims to be. This will be traced from farm to fork meaning from agriculture to consumption.

Provenance’s private blockchain (unlike public blockchains VeChain, modum, OriginTrail, etc) will encrypt and store data that has been received from the individual products. The advantage of this is that the consumers will be able to trace the history of the products and the entire duration of transport. This is how transparency is achieved, as any food that has been impaired can be identified through its blockchain data.

There are six main actors involved in the Provenance supply chain process. To ensure the traceability of the products on the supply chain, these six groups will play a major role.

Producers (e.g., a cotton grower);

Manufacturers (e.g., a maker of fabric or jeans);

Registrars, which are organizations that provide credentials and a unique identity to actors (e.g., an accreditation service);

Standards organizations, which define the rules of a certain scheme (e.g., Fairtrade)

Certifiers and auditors, which are agents — usually separate agents, to maximize security — that inspect producers and manufacturers and verify certain standards, like annual production capacity; and

Customers, the purchasers of products along supply chains, including the end consumer.

With that, Provenance incorporates seven additional features which will be deployed on the blockchain.[3] The first feature is the user registration which will enable all consumers to have a profile in provenance which they can access with a private key. This can record the name of the participants. Additionally, this allows them to be tied to the blockchain with their identity. This is what ultimately forms the fundamental trust relationship between consumers and suppliers.

The second feature is the standard programs that shows the point of sale of the product. The auditability of the movement of a product will be authenticated by an auditor which ultimately allows the producer to trace the product’s history. The standards themselves are linked to the certification of the program’s information. The third feature is the production programmes which are used to deploy the certification and to make sure that the creation of the good meet certain standards.

The manufacturing programs are the fourth feature which features a shift from input goods to output goods. The example given by Provenance is that the registration of a certain amount of organic cotton fabric requires as input the appropriate amount of raw organic cotton, the manufacturer can thus not claim to use 5% organic cotton and then claim that their products entail an organic cotton fabric.[4]

The fifth and sixth feature are tagging and linking. Products will be able to be tagged through a cryptographic QR code and a NFC tag. This eventually can establish a secure link between the digital and physical world.[5] This is tied with the linking feature, which refers to technologies such as genetic tags, bar codes, NFCs and digital tags such as RFIDs.

The last feature, the user-facing application, is targeting the end consumers in a pragmatic manner. The consumers can inspect the blockchain through downloading the Provenance application. They will be able to get clear detailed information about the products they end up buying.[6]

“The company aims to use its funding for setting a new standard for consumer trust in the food sector by implementing its blockchain-backed solution with over 1000 food and drink businesses by 2025”[7 

Who is behind the Provenance private blockchain?

The founder, Ms. Jessi Baker, has a vast background in business and engineering, having received a Masters in Innovation Design through the engineering programme at the Royal College of Art and a Masters of Manufacturing Engineering from the University of Cambridge. Ms. Baker was the Lead Interactive creative at TBWA/ digital Arts network and a Business Strategy Consultant at Estin&Co/IDATE. Ms. Baker also has a background in Design & Creative technology strategy at American Apparel. A former Design Engineer at Arup, Ms. Baker also has a PhD in computer science from the University College London.

Chief technology officer Ian Kynnersley was a founder and director of IAK Consulting Ltd. where he helped people understand the use of technology including applications for both the web and mobile devices. Mr. Kynnersley consulted global corporation in finance, internet start-ups, and telecoms.

Blockchain Engineer Thibaut Schaeffer received a Masters in technological innovation specialised in entrepreneurship. Mr. Schaeffer used to be a part time teacher where he taught technical courses on blockchain technology. He covered topics from scalability to security as well as practical dapp projects based on the Ethereum platform.

Business Analyst Stephanie Lau received a BA in Arts in University College London. Ms. Lau was a transition mentor and a research and editorial assistant at ethical fashion forum.

Who is supporting Provenance?

Provenance private blockchain is partnered with humanity united which is a humanitarian company that seeks to fight human rights suppression through innovation, co-creation etc.[8] Humanity united is part of the Omidyar Group which is a collection of several organizations that confront such issues in diverse ways.

Mr. Gavin Starks is the Chairman and advisory board at Provenance. He founded the Open Data Institute in 2012, which opts to build trustworthy ecosystems with commercial and non-commercial companies. Mr. Starks has been creating businesses for over 20 years, he has been considered one of the most influential people in data and has won several awards for his innovations and expertise.[9]

Mr. Brian Fitzpatrick is a private investor for Provenance. Mr. Fitzpatrick is a General manager at IPONEWEB and has successfully managed to build an angel investment portfolio. Mr. Fitzpatrick additionally was the managing director of the European business of[10]

Founder of Reuters Venture Capital Fund, John Taysom is also a private investor at Provenance.

Investor and entrepreneur Alexsis de Raadt St. James is the founder and margining partner of US and UK venture capital firm Merian Ventures. Ms. de Raadt St. James is an advisor to Provenance.

PR consultant and part-time journalist Nicola green is an advisor for Provenance. Ms. Green co-founded Bambosh, which is a communication consultancy firm seeking to bridge traditional media relations and digital strategy to help businesses start and grow.[11]

provenance private blockchain

Provenance is partnered with a transparent company which works with various brands that are either on a transition to an open/transparent communication. [12]

Provenance has parterned with New York based venture capital company Digital Currency Group (DCG-Coinbase, Grayscale) which seeds bitcoin and blockchain related companies. Today DCG holds over 130 companies over 27 countries. [13]

Provenance is also partnered with soil association, which is the UK’s leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, human and sustainable food.[14]

Provenance is also partnered with Angel Academe, which encourages women to become angel investors and founders of tech companies.

Plug and Play tech Center as well have a partnership with Provenance, which provides an innovative platform for start-ups, whether that is in Accelerator programs, corporate innovation or investments.

General Summary of the Project

Provenance is highly focused on establishing transparency in the food product supply chain. Provenance is not the only current project that uses a blockchain platform to ensure the security and transparency of the supply chain data on an open space. However, in this new era of blockchain, bringing transparency to food product supply chains will be critical for brands, retailers and governments. The Provenance private blockchain solution is certainly on the forefront of this revolutionary market space, making them one of the few in the world tackling this issue.


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