Amazon is entrusting blockchain with tracking of goods
The US Patent and Trademark Office released a document stating that the American multinational conglomerate technology company, Amazon, will employ blockchain for tracking of goods on its global supply chain.
Lack of trust is this one thing holding back the growth and transformation of the current supply chain. And Amazon has been seeking to prevent illegal products from entering its supply chain for decades.
According to the Wall Street Journal's report published last year, thousands of Amazon products have either been restricted or classified as unsafe and unregulated. The retail company has been also held liable for putting consumer health at risk by shipping expired goods like animal meat and baby formula.
The problem of insubstantial control over the items sold on Amazon's website is quite substantial. The supply chain is overloaded with third-party suppliers who often do not share full information about their products. Due to this long-standing trust issue, such prominent brands like Birkenstock and Nike decided to withdraw their products from the Amazon shopping platform.
Therefore, with intentions to restore the lost trust and consumer loyalty, Amazon chose to put its faith in blockchain technology to help out the supply chain stakeholders track their commodities. Full accessibility of the platform will be granted to its manufacturers, logistics companies, suppliers, distributors, and consumers, who will be provided with the necessary means for end-to-end tracking of items.
The US Patent presented a diagram showing how the system would work: "When an item is added to a catalog system, the item information may be included in the creation element at the start of the ledger for the item. <...> A certification authority may be included to verify that items received correspond to the item included in the catalog based on one or more certification rules."
In the meantime, many other industry giants, such as IBM, Nestle and BMW, have been exploring blockchain's potential to improve product traceability and manage supplier and distributor operations.