Issue: Application of distributed ledger technologies (commonly, but not exclusively, referred to as ‘blockchains’) is a powerful means to increase visibility and decrease temporal latency, while enhancing trust in data capture from critical transactional nodes within a supply chain and its associated document flows. These technologies are facilitating a global revolution for establishment of digital identity and trust.
Objective: The Cross-Border Threat Screening and Supply Chain Defense Center of Excellence in partnership with the Texas A&M University Department of Computer Science, is creating a realistic model of global tuna supply chain components, from fishing vessels through entry into the U.S., in a computational testbed environment.
Outcome: The blockchain testbed is being built to U.S. government-mandated guidelines, which are actively evolving in accordance with an industry-based standards working group (W3C). This presents an opportunity for tuna and related fisheries, as well as for other industries, to test system design and conduct research in an environment free of the burden or liabilities that come with direct contact or linkage to government systems. The testbed is designed in accordance with government guidance, but does not interface with government systems. The project focuses on the tuna supply chain harvest-to-market model, a $42B global enterprise that encompasses multiple global physical and paper transactions, with the associated multiple jurisdictional handoffs. The testbed allows for use of distributed ledger technologies to illustrate how a federated architecture may advance the current state of the art in data capture and relay of product/document/financial exchanges through a complex supply chain to import, and into U.S. government systems.
Value Proposition: Successful implementation will test secure digital tracking of country of origin, quota limits, accurate tariff classifications, and compliance with government regulations, combined with the benefits of promoting environmentally sensitive harvest, sustainability, and ensuring legal labor. Successful program implementation will yield a testbed environment for additional industries to apply these technologies to other systems requiring immutable capture of transactions, transaction patterns, and authenticity verification in complex, international supply chains.