There’s been a lot of hubbubs lately about blockchain technology, and what it can do for you. You’ll find that people have strong opinions on this technology, and what it can be used for.
You might feel a little late to the party if you have no idea what blockchain is.
That’s okay. You can get caught up in no time.
Blockchain is a public digital ledger, comprised of records known as blocks that represent a set of transactions across computers. These records are secured with cryptography, and are difficult to hack or alter. This makes them increasingly popular at a time when cybersecurity is so necessary and so fragile.
In real-world applications, blockchain is the technology behind cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.
It’s not to be confused with a type of cryptocurrency itself, but its ability to create open and unalterable transactions is what make cryptocurrencies possible.
Three Ways Blockchain Improves How You Buy Food
But what does that mean for you as a food consumer? It’s hard to see the connection at first, but part of what makes new technology so exciting is seeing the way it can be used far beyond its intended purpose. Here are three ways that the blockchain of food is good for consumers.
1. It Can Allow for More Transparency
You might not realize it, but you are so far removed from your food. You have no idea where it comes from. You don’t know who grows it, or what they use on it, or what it eats. You probably don’t realize this disconnect because you have never known anything else. Unless you live on a farm, and grow, or raise everything you eat, you have always been dependent on someone else for food.
With blockchain, you can break down the barriers between you and the food that you eat. You can find out when the cow whose beef you are eating was born. You can find out if it was given vaccinations or antibiotics.
It might seem scary or improper at first to know so much about the animal you are eating, but over time, you’ll realize that it’s important to know that information. In fact, you owe it to what you eat to know as much about how your food was processed as you possibly can.
2. It Can Promote Food Safety
The blockchain of food makes food instantly traceable. By recording produce, for example, in the blockchain, companies can provide consumers instant information. Using your smartphone, you can scan a code, and find out everything you need to know about, say, your lettuce.
You might be thinking that you don’t need instant information about your lettuce. On an average day, you would be right, but what if there is an E. coli outbreak? What if it’s determined that lettuce is the culprit? You would want to know within a matter of seconds whether or not your lettuce was part of a contaminated shipment.
With the blockchain of food, you can get that information, and so can the companies that sell your food. Imagine how quickly contamination could be shut down. Imagine how much illness could be stopped if companies didn’t have to manually trace a food’s path.
3. It Can Ensure a Fair Price for Everyone
Because the blockchain of food creates transactions that are instantly viewable by the public, they help to make payment faster and to make it fairer. It gives farmers a way to guard against unfair prices, and it can allow them to cut out middlemen. That means more profits for farmers without higher prices for you.
You want healthy and delicious food that doesn’t cost a fortune, but you also want to make sure that the people who are responsible for growing your healthy and delicious food get paid for their efforts. Blockchain can help make that possible.
Get Better Connected to Your Food with Blockchain
Now that you know the ways in which blockchain can change and improve the way you think about and purchase your food, you might be more receptive to it. Changes in technology are rapid and sometimes scary, but the blockchain of food can help connect you to your food in a way that has never happened before.