E-commerce giant Amazon has recently filed a patent for a Blockchain-based technology that tracks goods as they move along the supply chain. Amazon’s patent describes a “distributed ledger certification” system. The patent document explains that the Blockchain-based tracking solution would ensure that consumer goods that are sold on its e-commerce site are authentic.
The abstract reads: “Features are disclosed for an interface for verifiable tracking of an item through a supply chain using a distributed electronic ledger.”
The patent further explains that the system at large aims to improve “trust through an enterprise services platform that allows parties to map their global supply chains.” The tracking solution would render the position of the items moving along the supply chain from production to the end user visible.
The system described in the document may also allow participants such as manufacturers, couriers, distributors, end users, and even secondary users to add events to the ledger after registering with a certification authority. The certification authority could also apply rules for testing and certification such as ensuring item quality through the supply chain or requiring certain certification steps before the item can continue moving forward.
The patent document explains that traditional tracking solutions mapped a limited portion of a supply chain, usually the one accessible to its developer.
“The increasingly distributed and modularized physical supply chain where each entity works with multiple customer-facing channels, has led to limited adoption of these siloed tools. The features described break this mold by building a lower-level set of open standards and services that provide a trustworthy framework for participants to use.”
The reliable and immutable nature of blockchain technology is a natural fit for supply chain tracking solutions. The reason is that such systems necessitate infrastructure that can be expected to work continuously over long periods of time without interruptions and that data — once written — cannot be edited.