No, Walmart and IBM Haven't Really Put Food on Blockchain | dinbits


Wally World to the rescue! No, not really. However, if you read of the latest headlines, it sounds like an amazing new thing has been achieved with Walmart and IBM bringing food safety to the Blockchain. It almost sounds like world hunger is on the brink of being resolved.

No let's slap ourselves back to reality. It's not happening, its not going to happen. 

The Real Reality 

Walmart has invested 25 million dollars into building a food tracking system in IBM's cloud on Hyper-ledgers (Linux foundation) distributed ledger technology. Which means it's going to be a database in a cloud IBM has control over and Walmart has even further control over. This means it'll be subject to fraudulent activity just as it is today and won't be secure. Luckily, nobody is likely to spend a great deal of time trying to hack into this. 

It won't be securing anything on the blockchain itself (bitcoins ledger) as currently planned and won't do much of anything that a regular database can't do so it brings up the argument of why on earth would they build this anyway?

Furthermore, this is all neat and well but who's going to be monitoring the food in Walmart stores where most of the problems are in the first place? Many have seen this first hand as food is mistreated, frozen items are thawed and re-frozen after being left on store shelves for long periods of time, and boxes of non-perishable foods are taped backed together and placed back on shelves. 

Seems like that 25 million (which is nothing to Walmart) could be better spent on better policies internally and if you were going to put any record like the one they suggest on a blockchain, it should be on bitcoin's blockchain with possible internal workflow occurring on Ethereum, essentially let Ethereum operate as a sidechain, then store the master record on the Blockchain (bitcoin). 

Accurate Headlines

What the headline should have read was "Wamart invests 25 million to build workflow database in IBM cloud".  Yes, it does sound lame, that's why they tapped into the blockchain buzzword. Even more humorously apparent are all of the titles suddenly appearing at IBM with "blockchain" in them considering a couple years ago, they laughed at the technology.

Perhaps the biggest joke here is the use of "immutability" by IBM in one statement, something they clearly cannot do with a private database in their cloud.

So no. IBM and Walmart are NOT putting anything on the blockchain, and they are not putting anything on any blockchain. They are "planning" to possibly put some records in a database in their cloud. 

Fortunately, these records aren't very secure or accurate today, so it won't matter when they're not secure after this is stored by IBM either. No loss really except for the 25 million that could really be put to much better use.



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