United States: Blockchain Solutions For Supply Chain And Digital Identity Announced Despite Predictions Of ‘Blockchain Fatigue'

With the help of a major technology firm, the company that supplies jet engines to over half of the global airline industry created a production blockchain pilot, using a custom-built fork of Ethereum, to track and trace the engines – a product for which quality is critical and ownership can change hands over time. The goal is for a consortium of industry partners to use the system, internally known as TRUEngine, to track the provenance of engine parts from the moment of manufacturing. Another enterprise blockchain platform for provenance, AURA, was announced this week by ConsenSys, a major luxury brands holding company, and a large technology company. The Quorum-based platform is the result of a traceability program launched three years ago. At one end, the system provides track-and-trace for raw materials, and at the other, customers can use an app to request an AURA certificate of authenticity.

In government adoption news this week, Switzerland's national post is working with blockchain and IoT company Modum on a device, ThermoCare, that uses a permissioned blockchain to track the temperature of shipments such as food and pharmaceuticals while they are in transit. The rationale for using a permissioned blockchain is that the data has to stay within Switzerland and meet bank security requirements.

There were a number of developments in digital identity this week. A multinational technology company launched Ion, an infrastructure for decentralized identifiers (DIDs) that uses the Bitcoin blockchain. DIDs are used in a number of emerging identity solutions that aim to place control over user data back in the hands of the users themselves. Also this week, Hyperledger added a new identity project, Aries. It is not a blockchain, nor an application, but rather an infrastructure that aims to enable peer-to-peer messaging, interoperability between different blockchains and distributed ledgers, as well as the exchange of blockchain-based data. The Aries tools include an encrypted messaging system, cryptographic wallet and an implementation of the Decentralized Key Management System being incubated in Hyperledger Indy.

In other news, this week the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance released two new specifications: a set of standard APIs for off-chain trusted computation, and a new version of the EEA client specification. The former received contributions from EEA members including two large technology firms, a major bank and ConsenSys.

While supply chain solutions continue to populate the enterprise blockchain landscape, Gartner warns that 90% of them will suffer "blockchain fatigue" by 2023. According to analysts, many will not pass the pilot phase due to the overall immaturity of the technology, overly ambitious expectations, and misunderstandings about how blockchains can and cannot support supply chain management, as well as a lack of standards.

Finally, a recent Forbes article detailed how enterprises including major coffee, grocery and retail chains are allowing users to pay using an app called Spedn, which accepts cryptocurrency. According to the report, a coffee purchase on Spedn for which the end user provided Gemini Dollars was successful, but none of the app's clients confirmed their participation in the launch.

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