Better knowledge and understanding of blockchain technology could help businesses save money and improve transparency with consumers.
Blockchain technology is best known for supporting crypto-assets, such as bitcoin, but the technology can also be used to improve transparency within businesses.
A blockchain is essentially a digital record of data that is neither controlled nor managed by a central authority. This record can be viewed and updated by anyone in the world, depending on the permissions they have.
BlockchainNZ President Bryan Ventura said the technology could be used by export companies to track and authenticate a product as it moves through a supply chain.
âThere are a lot of counterfeit products right now, a lot of Louis Vuitton bags for example, there is fake mÄnuka honey on the market, and the use of blockchain technology has the potential to prove that mÄnuka honey made in New Zealand is mÄnuka honey sold in an overseas market. “
It could also save companies money on compliance costs, he said.
âA lot of compliance is repeated, and there are a lot of repetitive functions in the industryâ¦ the repetition is born out of a lack of trust in the supply chain.
âNow, using the blockchain and having the provenance opportunity, you can potentially do something once, put it on the blockchain and people could access that data over and over again,â he said.
In 2019, BlockchainNZ approached the government about the need to develop a national technology strategy, as it could help boost economic growth.
However, those talks did not progress, and the organization took on the task of hosting seminars, contacting companies and raising awareness of the potential of the technology.
Ventura said the lack of regulation in the blockchain arena was hurting the legitimacy of the technology.
Cryptocurrencies had also eclipsed other uses of the blockchain since the last crypto bull market in 2017.
“It’s important for people to separate crypto assets, like bitcoin, with blockchain technology because [the technology] offers much more than speculative opportunities [for investment]. “
Once there was enough education across all sectors, Ventura said, local businesses would begin to understand how technology could benefit their business.
Recent examples include a small energy company in Nelson that uses blockchain to give consumers the ability to buy and trade energy when they need it.
Decentralized technology company TrackBack had created a platform that, like the example used earlier, allowed exporters to prove the legitimacy of honey on international shelves.
Its development manager, Semonie Cato, said the technology could be applied to any product produced and sold, not just primary industries.