Andreas M. Antonopoulos, the author of Mastering Bitcoin, is a renowned bitcoin and blockchain expert. He also hosts the “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” podcast and is the author to many cryptocurrency and blockchain articles. Nowadays, companies are trying their best to track fruits and vegetables. Recently, Walmart announced that it will be utilizing blockchain technology for tracking lettuce and spinach. On this development and the trend to track vegetables and fruits, Andreas M. Antonopoulos told BlockPublisher that the companies were missing out the key element entirely when they were aiming for tracking vegetables. He said:
Centralized blockchains are missing the point of a blockchain. Tracking physical assets requires trusted custodians, again missing the point.
According to him, tracking of physical assets, fruits and vegetables require human supervision. Centralized blockchain destroys the very essence of the existence of blockchain, similarly, tracking physical assets introduces contradictions if instead of a trusted custodian, blockchain is employed for tracking purposes.
Besides Antonopoulos, Jill Carlson, a cryptocurrency consultant at Juno LLC, who also served as strategy lead at Chain, opposes the initiative taken by Walmart. She expressed her thoughts on the initiative taken by Walmart on twitter, where she said :
You cannot track a vegetable on a blockchain (or any database for that matter). A vegetable is not digital.
Walmart has sought for several blockchain patents in the past. The retail giant, a blockchain advocate, is looking forward to blockchain to solve the problems faced by the people during spring. There have been cases where people got sick after eating contaminated lettuce. Walmart had to discard all of its lettuce stock in order to prevent any possible sickness among people from its lettuce stock. But after the disposal, Walmart planned to develop a system with the help of blockchain technology to pinpoint and track the contaminated batches of green vegetables.
Walmart has partnered up with I.B.M to fulfill its aim of tracking spinach and lettuce. Walmart has planned to get more than 100 farms on the blockchain database which will be developed by I.B.M. The retailers of those farms, who supply stocks to Walmart, will be asked to enter the details in the database. In this way, Walmart aims to collect data and track vegetables. By doing this, Walmart can discard the food that is not safe for eating. Consequently, quality of food can be maintained and checked properly with this prospect of tracking food.
There are several problems associated with the move as suggested by Antonopoulos and Jill. They suggest that blockchain technology can’t be applied for tracking vegetables. Walmart’s next step in implementing the system is expected to clarify the feasibility of the project and give answers to the opinions made by Antonopoulos and Jill.