Ambrosus, a Swiss startup focusing on food supply chains, is using Ethereum in conjunction with Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to create a trusted supply chain ecosystem and has a plan to scale it out using Parity.
Supply chain innovations are not foreign to the realm of blockchain-based use cases. CEO and co-founder of Ambrosus Angel Versetti told ETHNews about what distinguishes Ambrosus from others in the space. “Our key advantage is solving the scalability issues all our competitors are facing,” said Versetti. “We will promote an entire automatic solution in order to benefit from the smart contract strength.” He also mentioned that while starting with Ethereum, Ambrosus will edge towards interoperability; specifically, in line with Ethereum and Parity founder Dr. Gavin Wood and his vision for a heterogeneous multi-chain framework, Polkadot.
According to Versetti, the largest problem with the food supply chain stems from generating trustworthy data that is usable in the real world. He said, “There is no point in storing information on the blockchain and using such a technology if the data from sensors and analytical tools can be tampered with, manipulated, or modified.” Ambrosus takes steps to alleviate these concerns through assuring transparency for the development of high-tech sensors, innovating in the fields of both biosensor and nanosensor technology.
Versetti related that supply chains can sometimes suffer due to untrustworthy people and systems at the front end, for example, the horse meat scandal in 2013 as reported by the BBC. To generate trustworthy data, executable distributed code contracts (EDCCs) and a web-of-trust approach combine together with Ambrosus’ API for sensors, thereby generating automatic data that can become ubiquitous throughout the supply chain without the fear of tampering.
Versetti said core technology alongside EDCCs developed by Parity Technologies connect the sensor systems to an application programming interface (API). This breaks down the technical barriers allowing for corporate entities to engage in entry-level management of supply chain and quality assurance built atop a system of legacy software or hardware. Utilizing a simplified API means those managing systems need not have an expertise in blockchain technology.
Versetti reflected that among the influences to use Ethereum as the means of operation were its high adoption rate among businesses and the fact that “some of the smartest people in the world are building Ethereum and applications/protocols around it.” He also said that forthcoming scalability features, interoperability protocols, and many existing Dapps influenced the decision.
Ambrosus has been busy working on proofs of concept and is currently testing out 10 possible solutions for sensor systems. Each supply chain requires its own design, and so each gets deployed according to cases. Workshops are organized with clients where specifics are set up by Ambrosus to define how to leverage the blockchain best to the use case. Then, tailor-made designs are tested against the fragmented pieces, ultimately integrating in a final step which tests system integrity.
As Versetti explained, two kinds of systems are being built. One will interface with commercial sensors or existing supply chains. He said, “In that case, the analytics is dedicated to one sort of food and has to be selected accordingly, whereby a particular system will be designed for a particular type of product (e.g. shrimps, fish, chocolate, etc.).” The other approach will be to develop food tracers or digital certificates which may integrate with any food. A digital asset, the ERC20-compliant Amber token, will be associated with the certificate to which any relevant information can be tethered.
Ambrosus will be configured in such as a way as to utilize existing sensor technology in order to rapidly deploy using an API. Being able to plug into systems which are already in place allows Ambrosus to develop its own sensor system over time, incrementally complimenting other sensor systems. Self-checking mechanisms will be engaged to quarantine faulty sensors in the system, comprised of sensor arrays so that there isn’t a single point of fault wherein the system may be compromised.
Versetti maintains that the overall solution that Ambrosus is developing will be multidisciplinary, connecting the Ethereum blockchain, IoT devices, and food science together to generate quality assurance, safety, and food origination certitude.
“Our team, which includes some of the most acclaimed and successful experts in the world from the fields of sensors, biotechnologies and blockchain, have developed a vision for a dynamic ecosystem transforming the global food supply chains.”
Ambrosus is busy developing a decentralized marketplace also, where farmers and buyers can engage in direct commerce, unburdened by commissions. Versetti invites interested parties to “stay tuned” for future developments.
Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.