CBC publishes case study for IOTA-based solution for small businesses

  • A case study by the Construction Blockchain Consortium shows how the IOTA Tangle can promote supply chain transparency for micro and small businesses.
  • The Tangle was chosen for the project because of its scalability and feeless transactions.

The Construction Blockchain Consortium (CBC), whose members include IBM, Siemens, Alpha Corporation, Scape Group, Turner & Townsend, the Linux Foundation and others, yesterday published a case study on how IOTA can promote supply chain transparency for micro and small businesses. The case study was conducted at UCL (University College London) and focused on a project implemented by CBC member Blocks and Mortar Limited in the retail industry.

The project was implemented for the retail e-commerce start-up, Revolution of Forms, and designed a traceability solution that built on the public IOTA Tangle to record the sale of products on the company’s website. Customers could view product data directly through a web explorer to verify the origin of the item purchased.

An IOTA based traceability solution for the craft industry

As the study finds, the lack of transparency among producers and manufacturers is a major opportunity for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). Smaller craft businesses in particular are struggling with imitations and counterfeits because, according to the study, “there is no reliable system for tracing the origin of products or materials”.

Using the solution developed at UCL, each physical Revolution of Forms product could be digitally recorded to prove its authenticity and origin. The IOTA Tangle technology was chosen over other DLTs for the following reasons:

IOTA Tangle was used as it is a transparent, end user-friendly application. […]

This project was undertaken on IOTA Tangle mainly because it is a fee-less distributed ledger technology. This suited therequirements of the customer, who was concerned about the cost of paying transaction fees on an alternative blockchain(e.g. Ethereum), particularly as their business scaled and the number of records needing to be registered grew.

For the implementation, a web-based application (“Provenance Record Entry Form”) was developed in which all information was entered. This automatically stored the information in the IOTA Tangle via an open source JavaScript library provided by the IOTA community.

As the following figure shows, the data was stored on the Tangle in 4 steps. In the first step, the details of an order placed with a designer were recorded using MAM (Maskd Authenticated Messaging, now IOTA Streams). Then, when the product was finished, the craftsman entered the product details. Once the designer received all the products in an order from each artisan, he also checked that the order was complete. When Revolution of Forms finally received the order, the data was again stored in the Tangle via MAM.

iota cbc

Source: https://static1.squarespace.com/static/58b6047520099e545622d498/t/5f4e71f0cb3d123b5e193e44/1598976505383/CBC-CS2_IOTA_Provenance.pdf

Ultimately, customers were able to view the records on the Tangle by clicking on the unique ID for the order, which they called up on the product page of the Revolution of Forms website.

Finally, the case study also found that other DLTs, such as Ethereum, Cardano, or even specialized solutions such as Everledger, enable a similar function:

However, it is worth noting that alternative public and private distributed ledger technologies such as Ethereum or Cardanoare capable of implementing similar functionality. Furthermore, there are now commercial solutions available which aredesigned specifically to track provenance of goods by using blockchain together with associated technologies (such as nanotechnology & intelligent labelling such as NFC). Everledger and Provenance are two such commercial products and they tendto be used for higher priced goods such as artwork, precious gems and luxury goods.

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