Finally, a useful blockchain application: Halal meat tracking
Blockchain is often derided as a solution in search of a problem. But buried under crypto scams and Web3 utopianism hide some exciting use cases.
Some of the most powerful applications are in traceability. When blockchain is embedded in supply chains, it can track the entire product life cycle, from origin to consumption. As the technology provides permanent, indelible and immutable records, extensive data about goods and transactions can be securely stored and authenticated.
In the food sector, the benefits are particularly attractive. In one pilot project by UK startup Provenance, blockchain and smart tagging were used to track illegal tuna fishing, seafood fraud and forced labour. As well as ensuring ethical practices, the scheme revealed blockchain’s potential for corporate auditing, tackling counterfeiting and reducing administrative costs.
In Wales, blockchain boffins have found another promising target for traceability: halal meat. In a European first, British startup iov42 develops a data sharing platform that provides secure records of compliance with halal standards – which are often violated by fraudulent products.
The culprits range from sole proprietorships to international organized criminal groups. One of the most notorious breaches emerged in 2020, when a Malaysian “meat cartel” was revealed to have bribed customs officers, distributed meat from uncertified abattoirs and passed off kangaroo and horse meat as halal beef.
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The scandal sparked an outcry in Malaysia – where Muslims make up around 60% of the population – and across the Islamic world. It also threatened to cause major financial problems. Malaysia aimed to become a global hub for the $2.3 trillion halal market, already exporting $9 billion in halal-certified products.
iov42 bets that blockchain can reduce the risk of such offences. By tracking produce from farm to table, the company aims to embed ancestry tracingincrease certification schemes and increase impartiality in the halal market.
“Our technology was developed to help improve traceability in industries just like this,” said David Coleman, Chief Product Officer at iov42.
To bring the project to life, iov42 is working with certification experts at Prime UK, a Cardiff-based provider of compliance services. Last week, the companies announced that they have attracted a cash injection from the Welsh Government’s Blockchain Demonstrator Challenge Fund.
The government scheme was launched to develop the local blockchain sector. If the halal project is successful, it could provide a rare example of the real benefits that blockchain can bring to Wales.