What is Smart Trade Networks?
Smart Trade Networks (STN) is a blockchain technology-based project that aims to empower communities to reform and build new supply chains for the things they need; and to enable smooth, reliable exchange and trade of credentialed products and services.
Centralised databases are risky. They are attack vectors to start with, but they can also be modified secretly by those with access to them. This makes it hard to believe in the information contained in them and creates uncertainty and distrust when it comes to people and businesses dealing with each other.
That’s why we’ve developed our solutions on decentralised systems, with a focus on transparency and empowerment.
What problems does it solve?
We began Smart Trade Networks because of two major problems in most supply chains:
- A collapse in the trust model when it came to credence claims — both by business and consumers. This is a basic reduction in trust in the authenticity claims from existing chains, their dominant actors and authorities (often made worse by bad actors exploiting circumstances); and
- Costly finance along the supply chain making it both expensive, risky and difficult, especially for new entrants and independent producers wanting to ‘reach out beyond the mainstream’ structures and channels and ‘do things differently’. This is stifling innovation.
So, here’s how we think of supply chains. Supply chains are value flow systems.
In essence, in supply chains goods and services move down the chain from producers to consumers and funds move up the supply chain. Funds flow when information about products or services is satisfactory to those that are investing in an activity or purchasing a product or service.
So, if we want to improve the flow of funds to projects, then we also need to make sure actors in a supply chain ecosystem can depend on the credibility of the information that make product and finance flows work.
What are the key pieces?
Smart Trade Networks is a general purpose, integrated provenance, blockchain-enabled supply chain finance and asset provenance platform. It offers a range of general functionalities that can be mobilised by diverse projects, including:
- Asset Registration and Tracking, and digitalisation;
- Supply chain finance innovation that enables communities to contribute to and benefit from investing in food supply systems;
- Supply chain ecosystem services financial derivatives, tracked to actual assets and events that support improved carbon outcomes and ecosystem services monetisation;
- Escrow smart contracts to enable secure, low cost asset / product purchasing and settlement; and
- A holistic approach to data integrity through the application of decentralisation throughout the data supply chain from data production, collection, validation, storage and consumption.
The project uses a multi-signature architecture built on blockchain to deliver a range of asset and product provenance information. This in turn creates improved supply chain payments and confidence amongst participants in the supply chain. Solid asset tracking enables the issuance of asset-backed digital securities for investors of all sizes to get involved in food production systems.
What are the key features?
The STN platform consists of 5 primary anchor technologies, namely;
- Blockchain — Proof of Authority (Beta) consensus mechanism and smart contracts;
- Internet of Things (IoT) devices (RFID identification on products etc);
- Oracles — a source of data from IoT devices and elsewhere and entering it into blockchain smart contracts;
- Multi-sig protocol — A novel mechanism which requires multiple signatories to sign and validate an update to the “state” of the data. This also governs who can participate in governance and creates a reputation and behavioural value ecosystem which aims to address the problem of arbitrary claims made by supply chain actors. It is a powerful tool to dilute the problems of information asymmetry; and
- Community attestation protocol — An additional protocol to the multi-sig process which aims to distribute authority throughout the community for verifying the integrity of data. This protocol is based on game theory design inspired by Schelling to incentivise the convergence on a ‘common truth’ from a group of strangers. It involves a mechanism by which participants can earn tokens by contributing to network integrity. The attestation feature will be released in the future.
Smart Trade Networks Stack
The Foundational Technical Consensus Proof of Authority (POA) Blockchain. This was chosen as the preferred approach (for the time being) as it enabled the team to deliver an infrastructure with stabilised costs. This was necessary for industry uptake.
Applications and Smart Contracts are deployed to and run on the POA. The hardware and software comprises:
THE POA NETWORK:
- Sealer Nodes; and
- Archive Nodes.
COMMON SERVICES SMART CONTRACT (SC) MODULES. At present, the following SC Modules can be accessed to support Project DApps:
- RFID to POA Network App interface, deployable to Android-enabled RFID hand-held scanners;
- Asset Tracker, incorporating base REA schema;
- ERC271 minting and grouping functionality;
- Escrow deal rooms (ERC20 <-> ERC721);
- Organic multi-sig primitives;
- Attestation (Schelling Vote) module;
- Multi-token (multi-chain) Wallet;
- Cross Chain functionality in development;
- KYC and White Listing Management;
- Document Verification (Veridoc Global workflow integration); and
- Supply chain product ontologies.
PROJECT DAPPS. These include:
- BeefLedger beef supply chain platform;
- One Platform Beef Industry Document Management (Australia only);
- Central Carbon Beef Supply Chain Environmental and Carbon Derivatives (Australia only);
- BeefLedger South Africa (a project of the DataLedger enterprise);
- BeefLedger South America;
- STN Marketplace, enabling digital assets tracked on the POA blockchain via different Project DApps to be traded; and
- Veridoc Global — patented document verification solution tracked to the POA network.
Project DApps are developed by Smart Trade Networks in partnership with project leaders, proponents and entrepreneurs. We have a number of projects in development in food and related sectors, the creative industries sector and the legal sector.
Supply Chain Finance Innovation
We deploy finance innovation through the following key products:
- Asset-backed digital assets, which can be issued under license as registered securities (e.g. under an Australian Financial Services License);
- Robust asset identification and tracking on the blockchain to ensure asset owners and financiers have visibility to the assets and we can also authenticate asset ownership claims with confidence; and
- A credentialed products marketplace powered by an escrow smart contract structure enabling buyers to pre-purchase products, thereby improving supply chain finance flow and certainty.
Award winning R&D team
The POA Network and Smart Contracts Modules are developed and maintained by the Smart Trade Networks, a business unit of SCP Capital Pty Ltd, with leading edge R&D undertaken in collaboration with researchers at Queensland University of Technology.
The project partners with Australian government-funded R&D organisations like the Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre. Together we are working on a 3 year project called Smart Trade Hubs, anchored by the technologies that the STN team are developing.
The STN team is also the team behind the multi-award winning BeefLedger project. The BeefLedger Export Smart Contracts project was developed in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology and Food Agility CRC. The project won 2 Good Design Australia 2020 Awards.
Peer Reviewed Publications
The research team have also published in peer reviewed industry and academic journals. Some of the recent publications by team members are:
- Strengthening consumer trust in beef supply chain traceability with a blockchain-based human-machine reconcile mechanism. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 180, Article number: 105886.
- A comprehensive review of the use of sensors for food intake detection. Sensors and Actuators, A: Physical, 315, Article number: 112318.
- The Cryptographic Complexity of Anonymous Coins: A Systematic Exploration. Cryptography, 5(1), Article number: 10.
- Truly multi-authority ‘pret-a-voter’. In Ryan, P Y A, Barrat, J, Teague, V, Krimmer, R, Benaloh, J, Goodman, N, et al. (Eds.) Electronic Voting: First International Joint Conference, E-Vote-ID 2016, Proceedings (Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Volume 10141). Springer, Switzerland, pp. 56–72.
- A Survey of Anonymity of Cryptocurrencies. In ACSW 2019: Proceedings of the Australasian Computer Science Week Multiconference. Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), United States of America.
- China’s blockchain services network: A new global emerging infrastructure. ACS Informationage, 30 July 2020.
- Community group buying, vulnerable communities and COVID-19 in China. (Book Chapter in State Responses to COVID-19: A Global Snapshot at 1 June 2020. University of Western Sydney.)
- BeefLedger blockchain-credentialed beef exports to China: Early consumer insights.
- Panoptic blockchain ecosystems: An exploratory case study of the beef supply chain. Monash University Law Review, 46(2), 57–84.
- Creatives in the country? Blockchain and agtech can create unexpected jobs in regional Australia. The Conversation, June, pp. 1–5, 2019.
- Assessing the rigour of empirical research in supply chain risk management. International Journal of Supply Chain and Operations Resilience, 4(2), 123–149.
- Improving supply chain risk visibility and communication with a multi-view risk ontology. Supply Chain Forum, 21(1), pp. 1–15.
- Smart cities as panopticon: Highlighting blockchain’s potential for smart cities through competing narratives. In Wang, Brydon & Wang, Chien Ming (Eds.) Automating Cities: Design, Construction, Operation and Future Impact. Springer, Singapore, pp. 297–317.
- Is the block a law or a rule? How to better understand the effect of your blockchain with a nudge. In Supply Chain on Blockchain Conference, 2019–07–15, Brisbane, Australia.
- Transparency in Animal Welfare and Food Fraud: The Benefits and Challenges of Blockchain for Trade. In The Future of Trade, 2019–04–10.
- Professions and expertise: How machine learning and blockchain are redesigning the landscape of professional knowledge and organization. University of Miami Law Review, 73(2), pp. 443–482.
- The promise of blockchain technology for interaction design. In Soro, A, Vyas, D, Waycott, J, Ploderer, B, Morrison, A, & Brereton, M (Eds.) Proceedings of the 29th Australian Computer-Human Interaction Conference (OzCHI 2017). Association for Computing Machinery, United States of America, pp. 513–517.