German automobile heavyweight Volkswagen Group has announced it will leverage IBM Blockchain, the tech power’s proprietary digital ledger, to track minerals used in its manufacturing supply chain.

Specifically, the company said it hoped to use IBM Blockchain to trace the “cobalt used in lithium-ion batteries” via the logistical data that’s to be facilitated by IBM’s chain.

IBM Blockchain

In their associated announcement, Volkswagen characterized the move as a pivot to “responsible sourcing” of its production materials:

“Built on the IBM Blockchain Platform and powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric, the new platform for enabling the traceability and provenance of minerals is designed to provide easy access for interested parties of all sizes and roles in the supply chain. Participants in the network, validated by RCS Global Group for compliance with responsible sourcing standards, can contribute and access immutable data in a secure and permissioned way to trace and record the flow of minerals across the supply chain in near real-time.”

Volkswagen said that Ford Motor Company would be among the companies joining them in using the IBM Blockchain to source minerals. Of course, that’s not altogether surprising, as distributed ledger technology is commonly cited as being primed to optimize industrial supply chain flows.

To that end, the Volkswagen blockchain embrace is yet another de facto PR victory for blockchain tech in general, in that it shows critics that distributed ledgers are worth considering when it comes to providing unique advantages over simple databases.

IBM an Inaugural Member of Token Taxonomy Initiative

IBM’s been quite active when it comes to the blockchain space as of late. That reality was highlighted once more this week as IBM joined other mainstream companies — namely Intel, JP Morgan, Microsoft, the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) and others — in launching the Token Taxonomy Initiative (TTI).

Billed as a way to facilitate enterprise tokenization in mainstream industries, the TTI campaign participants will work to standardize token definitions and specs so that companies can more easily shift their operations toward token-based systems.

Project chair and Microsoft Azure Blockchain head Marley Gray said the effort had the potential to be a game changer going forward:

“With a standardized global approach, the Token Taxonomy Initiative will form the foundation of critical standards in tokenization that could streamline the way entire industries and ecosystems work on a blockchain.”

IBM on a Roll When It Comes to Blockchain

French retail powerhouse Carrefour and Swiss food titan Nestle have started publishing data to the public via the IBM Food Trust blockchain platform.

Accordingly, the logistical data of associated food supplies can be tracked through the software, such as where and when such supplies were stored.

“This is the first time that Nestlé is sharing information on its products with consumers via a blockchain platform,” the Swiss company said.

One of the world’s largest supermarket enterprises, Albertsons Companies, has also recently committed to using the IBM Food Trust Platform to undertake a pilot to track romaine lettuce supplies throughout the supply chain.

IBM + Stellar = Blockchain World Wire

IBM activated its Stellar-based Blockchain World Wire in more than 70 countries on March 18th.

The platform leverages Stellar’s native cryptocurrency asset, lumens (XLM), to make real-time institutional payment settlements between different currencies. The advantages of the system over traditional payment rails is that its faster and cheaper on average compared to status quo payments options.

As part of the launch, six international banks have committed to releasing stablecoins through the Blockchain World Wire, including Brazil’s Banco Bradesco, South Korea’s Bank Busan, and the Philippines’s Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation.

The project is yet another reminder that IBM’s blockchain-based plans aren’t going anywhere any time soon.



Posted by William M. Peaster

William M. Peaster is a poet, novelist, and cryptocurrency editor. He is not a financial adviser. He enjoys covering both the promise and warts of the emerging cryptoeconomy. Follow him on Twitter: @WPeaster

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