Confirming rumors after a sudden frenzy of blockchain transactions, VeChain (VET) announced that they would be working directly with Wal-Mart China. The partnership involves verifying Wal-Mart’s supply chain for food safety purposes. Further, the system is already active and operational on the VeChain Thor public blockchain. When news of the partnership hit, it spiked VeChain’s price by 40% – although the rally was ultimately short-lived. The recent Bitcoin rally has bled value from many top altcoins, and may be suppressing a sustained increase in VeChain’s price.
Despite being one of the more promising projects to emerge from the 2017 cryptocurrency rally, VeChain has struggled in the past year. Before their token migration to VET, the previous ERC20 VEN token hit an all-time high of nearly $10. Even accounting for the 1 VEN to 100 VET split, VeChain remains down nearly 90%. However, VeChain’s focus on supply chain security and verification is already in use with several clients – suggesting that confidence in VET’s technology remains high.
Tracking Supply Chains with Blockchain Technology
VeChain emerged as the predominant supply chain token in early 2018. Several alternate options fell by the wayside, with VeChain securing high-profile partnerships with companies like DNV-GL. Their My Story system for confirming chain-of-possession was one of the first publicly visible uses of retail blockchain technology. Unfortunately, waning interest in blockchain tech throughout the crypto-winter made it difficult to capitalize on further partnerships.
However, their work with Wal-Mart China could turn that around. Although currently restricted to the one region, the food tracking system in place will serve as an ideal proof-of-concept. Ensuring the freshness of tracked food, the VeChain system will also prevent counterfeiting and falsified inspection reports.
Food Safety in China
VeChain’s project comes on the heels of several notable food scares in China. Industrial-scale suppliers of food to chain restaurants have been fined millions of dollars for the sale of expired meats. On a more local level, restaurants have been found to use ‘gutter oil’ as a frying medium. Gutter oil is recycled oil made from waste products and discarded animal components. Despite an increasingly strict crackdown, gutter oil remains an issue in country.
Ultimately, lax food safety regulations have left the populace looking for solutions. VeChain’s tracing system would bring the Chinese food traceability system more in line with Western nations. Barcode based tracking has been in use for decades in the west, but blockchain based supply chains may be the wave of the future.
Article By: Adam Stone