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Industry Updates

How Blockchain will Fundamentally Change the Way Food Operators Do Business

Written by
Elmera Asadipour

What is Cryptocurrency?

The only way you haven’t heard the word “cryptocurrency” is if…well, there are zero realistic situations in which you may not have heard of this concept in the last several months.

For those unsure, cryptocurrency is a global phenomenon that originated as “A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System,” created by Satoshi Nakamoto. Fun fact: Nakamoto never intended to even invent a currency – simply an electronic cash system to prevent double-spending.

According to Investopedia, “A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security. A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature. A defining feature of a cryptocurrency, and arguably its most endearing allure, is its organic nature; it is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.” As a technology, cryptocurrencies, like the ever-popular Bitcoin, are still in their infancies, but booming rapidly.

So how does digital cash impinge upon the restaurant industry?

Fast food chains like Burger King have already adopted digital currency technology in Russia. Burger King’s Russian branch began accepting Bitcoin payments at its brick-and-mortar stores. Now, the chain has launched its own virtual currency called the Whoppercoin. The big players in food and agriculture are also exploring the macrocosm of blockchain. Walmart began testing blockchain technology in its food tracking systems and recently announced witnessing very encouraging results.

Burger King in Russia

So, what exactly is blockchain helping Walmart achieve? The company revealed that the technology has reduced the time it takes to track food from days to minutes, empowering a more effective response in case contaminated products are discovered. The firm claims, “this will help enable precise and rapid recalls to preserve consumer trust in the food industry, while increasing traceability and transparency of the food system.” Impressive.

Not only is blockchain beneficial in facilitating traceability to improve food safety, but the technology supports to reduce fraud in the industry. According to IBM, “it was announced that 50 companies are working together to stop illegal tuna from coming to the market.” This collaborative effort will use tools such as satellite tracking and blockchain technology to monitor ocean resources.

Costs associated with foodborne illness range from $55 - $93 billion dollars a year in the United States alone. The industry is looking towards blockchain to revolutionize the consumer industry and supply chain forever.  

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