- Pacific Software begins development of blockchain-based B2B/B2C e-commerce platform
- Product tracking from farm to fare
- System will gather data from devices linked to Internet of Things
With the development of its blockchain ecommerce trade platform, Pacific Software, Inc. (OTC: PFSF) offers the prospect of supply chains with a level of transparency and integrity that is sorely lacking in current systems. By its immutability, which makes it impossible to game, and its capacity to track products, the technology will identify origins; speed up the removal of contaminated food in agricultural channels; and flag fraud. Undertaken using IBM’s Hyperledger Blockchain ‘Backend as a Service’ (BaaS) infrastructure, the PFSF platform will have the capability to record, store and track digital product information, such as farm origination details, batch numbers, factory and processing data, expiration dates, storage temperatures and shipping details. In addition, PFSF is working to incorporate data from devices, such as barcode and RFID readers, connected to the internet. By linking to the ‘Internet of Things’, the PFSF platform will make complex supply chains safer and a great deal more manageable.
Managed by the Linux Foundation, the Hyperledger Project is an undertaking meant to facilitate collaboration among developers aiming to apply the blockchain concept to transactional markets other than cryptocurrencies. The initiative was launched in 2015 with 30 participants. By the middle of this year, 235 organizations had joined. They represent a range of industries, including aeronautics, credit card services, finance, health care, manufacturing and logistics.
The Hyperledger technology offers a number of advantages. Its consensus algorithm is Practical Byzantine Fault Tolerance (PBFT), not the Proof-of-Work (PoW) widely employed by cryptocurrencies. This eliminates the need for the large amounts of power needed to solve cryptographic hash functions and also reduces the time it takes for transactions to be validated, to seconds. In contrast, a transaction with bitcoin, which uses PoW, will only be confirmed after 10 minutes. Hyperledger also allows permissioned systems to be built, which increases the privacy and security of the network. In a permissioned blockchain, an issuing authority grants identities to transactors on the network and assigns the appropriate level of access. The permissioned network can provide privacy by granting different levels of access and provide accountability with a record of all the transactions for an identity. This differs from the bitcoin network, which is publicly accessible.
Initially, PFSF’s ecommerce platform will focus on the agricultural supply chain between Brazil and China. PFSF’s Agri-Blockchain platform will improve transparency and trust with regard to origin, product quality, product safety and other factors. Additionally, in the event of food contamination, the technology will allow the exact source of the failure to be traced, reducing costs tremendously.
The drug supply chain is another system set to benefit from the PFSF platform, particularly as it relates to preventing or reducing the diversion of opioids fueling the present epidemic. The scourge of opioid addiction continues to plague the nation. A 2017 study by the non-profit Altarum (http://nnw.fm/9N0nz) estimates that, since the turn of the century, “the opioid epidemic has cost the U.S. more than a trillion dollars… and may exceed another $500 billion over the next three years.” The main components of economic activity are affected, placing a drag on economic growth. Reduced productivity is lowering business investment; earnings lost from illness and absenteeism are decreasing consumption expenditure; and shrinking tax revenues are curtailing government expenditure. The toll on human lives is equally costly. In the U.S., overdose deaths now run at a rate of roughly five persons per hour.
However, PFSF’s Hyperledger system may turn the tide, since it is a sophisticated method of recordkeeping. There is hope that better bookkeeping, which is possible with blockchain systems, may augment efforts to rein in drug abuse by identifying drug diversion and the bad actors (medical professionals and patients) responsible for it. The present system is flawed in several ways. It allows “double doctoring,” for instance, which occurs when a patient takes out more than one prescription from many physicians. This problem is compounded since tracking prescriptions is typically done on a state-by-state basis, and the silo nature of these systems can be easily exploited by patients who travel across state lines to repeat prescriptions.
Hyperledger Blockchain from Pacific Software may stop this corruption and chicanery. By tracking drugs from production to final use, the system will identify “pill mills” that over-prescribe painkillers or patients who “doctor shop” for extra prescriptions. The platform will be able to detect exactly where the opioids are sidetracked for abuse or illegal use. Moreover, it can overcome the lack of communicability between silo systems. Generally, blockchain has the capability to interconnect systems that don’t readily speak to each other, so several entities – state regulators, manufacturers, pharmacies – could potentially be on the same system. And, of course, unlike traditional databases, blockchains are immutable, i.e., records cannot be changed unless consensus is agreed by a majority of members. Also, a blockchain built to track pharmaceuticals would, very likely, be “permissioned” and accessible only by manufacturers, health care professionals and regulators.
Pacific met recently with representatives from the African Chamber of Commerce and is in the process now of developing a partnership with them for building trade with struggling African countries. This will include helping in areas where, for example, people are selling into counterfeit drugs and medications. Blockchain is already at work in the health care industry. Humanity.co has launched its My31 Mobile App, incorporating the IBM Blockchain design, which is designed to help users manage their health data (http://nnw.fm/rFjp4).
In August, Pacific Software announced that it had signed a definitive agreement to begin construction of its proprietary e-commerce trade platform (http://nnw.fm/7rTwn). The accord gives Cobalt 47 Technologies Ltd., a spin-off of KBQuest Group, the greenlight to begin construction of the multi-lingual e-commerce B2B and B2C trade platform. The platform is expected to be in production by November 2018 and will integrate blockchain technology solutions.
KBQuest Group, Inc. is the leading Microsoft distributor in China and was named “Microsoft SQL Partner of the Year 2017.” Its founder and chairman, Dr. Wang-Chan Wong, advises Pacific Software on technical issues.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.PacificSoftwareInc.com
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