Block Array – Logistics tracking and business data on the blockchain.

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Blockarray is a Chatanooga, TN based firm seeking to develop data protocols, IT infrastructure and smart contracts to improve item tracking and product information through the supply chain to the end user. A more narrow example of a problem they seek to solve is that barcodes (GS1 standard codes) do not provide much information apart from the firm that produced the item, and its ID. The solution to this is to create a data protocol and infrastructure that allows business-to-business communication by the use of barcodes. This product would be a semi-centralised barcode system that offers the standard GS1 barcodes used by over two million businesses globally, and a unique anti-counterfeit barcode. Furthermore, the barcode and blockchain system can be used to track the product through the supply chain to ensure accountability to suppliers and shippers and provide live tracking and information with the IoT.

To pull this all together, we can condense this down into a few key goals. Blockarray will enable GS1 industry standard barcodes to point to URLs or URIs to make obtaining information easier. The protocol will also anchor the barcode generation to the blockchain and associate it with an Ethereum (or other platform) wallet address. The actual action of scanning a barcode can be recorded as a transaction of the blockchain to enable better accountability.

Furthermore, Blockarray will allow information to be distributed across supply chain companies through the entire chain that they may not have had access to before. Assets could also be tracked without RFID, unlike other RFID-based solutions like Waltonchain or VeChain – all that would be required is updated software. Another key goal is reducing the barrier to entry for new businesses accessing existing sales platforms like Amazon or eBay by allowing purchase of GS1 barcodes with ARY tokens. The firm also targets smaller enterprises that may not have their own blockchain ambitions realised due to the expertise required to utilize the tech. This product is designed to be deployed both the Ethereum blockchain and Hyperledger Fabric. Eventually, there are plans to use Cardano in Q3/Q4 2018, and to further use Chainpoint and Oracles POA.

Transport Use Cases

So, we’ve talked broadly about one Blockarrays goal to track items across the supply chain, Hackernoon’s Tommy Wilkinson nails an example process as below:

  • A HGV driver is ready to leave with a container of product from a warehouse. The Blockarray mobile app will be used to scan a Bill of Lading barcode (see more on Bills of Lading with another startup, CargoX here) and via an Object Name Service a document is pulled, and other data collected such as GPS and local time.
  • The shipper and carrier sign off on the run, and when the driver leaves, a Geofence trigger is activated,and records the time. This data is written to the blockchain and is thus immutable.
  • Any violations of contract terms is clearly recorded and disputes can be settled quickly and breaches resolved. All parties will then receive receipts and copies of data via blockchain.

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Standardising approaches between businesses is a key goal for Blockarray, and it’s been confirmed they are a working with Tennessee State Representatives to create a framework and possible pilot study for smart contracts. The firm is also a member of BITA, the blockchain in transport alliance. This group has some large multinationals as members, including UPS, McLeod Software, FedEx and Bridgestone. A cornerstone of their approach is the use of GS1 standards, just like other supply chain protocol developers OriginTrail.

One of the big shipping use cases Blockarray points out is a solution to a detention payout problem where having reliable evidence is an issue:

When a truck driver arrives at the time they are suppose to, but the cargo is not ready to be loaded, they are entitled to a detention payout. Detention was ranked as one of the five leading business problems by 84 percent of the 257 carriers surveyed, including trucking companies and owner-operators.

Having time and geostamps on an immutable, shared ledger can quickly resolve these claims, act as a prompt to reduce incidents of detention by cargo loaders, and ensure recompense is given to affected parties.
Another case is putting daily trucking logs onto the blockchain. In Europe, tachographs are a legal requirement for goods and passenger carrying vehicles, to ensure driving time speed limit laws are adhered to.  EU regulation No 165/2014 is an incredibly serious piece of legislation policed throughout Europe heavily, and can result in large fines for both companies and their employees. In the U.S, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published the electronic logging device rule in December 2015. This required the use of an electronic logging device to automatically record the driver’s Record of Duty Status (i.e if he is driving and for how long).

Visual Smart Contracts

The use of visual smart contracts is how Blockarray, through their Badger consumer app can link information from firms to their products for public consumption.

Goods in supermarkets have different label standards. For example the reporting standards for what “is and is not” organic differs from company to company. With badger these are just some of the features you can see with products:

See the organization that actually certifies the product

See reviews of the product

See hazards that have been listed (e.g. choking for children)

Poison Control Information

Safety Datasheet

Product Recalls

For example, you could purchase a fridge from a store, and it breaks after a period of time. The consumer could use the badger app to scan the barcode on the product, which then could list product recall information, warranty dates, the items repair history if it has any and lists of authorised repair centres. It could even provide links to instruction manuals or other documentation. So far this platform is being developed on Ethereum, and the proposal details creating a standard barcode system like GS1 to be used with the blockchain. Further platforms such as Hyperledger Fabric are also being developed for.

Token Economics, Utility and ICO

At ICO, 1 ARY was priced at 0.18 USD. The total supply sits at 88,409,933 ARY and a circulation supply of 68,430,738. Blockarray currently has a market cap of just $11,525,105 USD (0.168 USD per ARY).

40% of tokens were available in the ICO, with 55% of funds raised being used for product development, 10% held in reserve, 20% on marketing and 15% earmarked for business expenses. Not much detail here which is a shame. Tokens held by the team have a 9 month cliff, so if an employee leaves before this period they receive no tokens, with a phased 4 year vesting period following this. Blockarray also retains first right of refusal before selling onto exchanges.

Token holders will have the opportunity to host full nodes or partial nodes for the blockchain network. Blockarray will have its own GS1 Prefix, allowing us to issue codes for those who wish to use our own prefix for their products. Token holders will be able to purchase ONS2.0.1 compliant barcodes using our prefix, and domain name service will be provided by us for such issuances. A proportion of the tokens used in the issuance of such barcodes will be burned, providing an anchor to the blockchain by means of the timestamp of the transaction.

So a couple of key points to take from that quote that contain value for token holders.

  • Proof of stake/masternode potential down the line to generate income.
  • Purchasing of barcodes – creates demand for the token, thus can create positive price action for holders.
  • % burn of tokens used at issuing of barcodes reducing supply.

You can buy Blockarray $ARY at KuCoin.

Active Partnerships & Future Activity

Blockarray currently has a small pilot study with a local carrier consisting of 15 trucks. Also recently announced was a partnership with qlink.mobi, a decentralized mobile network constructing an open-source telecom infrastructure on blockchain. The core aim of the partnership is to implement Qlink’s dapp functions for Blockarrays customers.

This means trucks will be able to communicate engine data and electronic logging device data to their owners while en route. In return, Block Array will help to deploy Qlink Chain Full Nodes to ensure network uptime, reliability, and stability for its users.

qlink blockarray

With one of the platforms Blockarray is working on being a secure proof of logging and proof of arrival/departure ledger, this partnership will allow an always online transparent immutable blockchain, that could open up data to explore further with the Internet of Vehicles.

Badger – the planned consumer app will be launched in Feb 2018, with the enterprise app in March. Also in this month will see the beginning of electronic logging device records being anchored to the blockchain, with visual smartcontracts in April/May. Furthermore in April will see e-commerce intergration plugins for woo-commerce and Magento released.

You can buy Blockarray $ARY at KuCoin.

The Blockarray overview paper can be found in PDF format here, and the full format whitepaper here on their github. The Telegram chat group is linked here and you can follow them on Twitter @blockarraygroup. In the past month the team has also unveiled their new website at https://blockarray.com/.

Any thoughts? Follow me on twitter!

If you liked this, you may like this article: OriginTrail – A purpose-built, blockchain agnostic protocol for supply chains.


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