Leveraging the open, decentralized architecture of the blockchain, the VeChain platform is evolving into a reliable, scalable, and distributed business environment which runs without any central authority and allows access to all necessary information about a product to authorized stakeholders.
By providing an all round-view of a product and the linked business operations, like supply chain management, VeChain aims to help businesses and customers with enhanced transparency. This article describes the VeChain network, its working, and applications.
Real-World Problems VeChain Addresses
How VeChain works can be understood with an example of a real-world scenario.
Counterfeit and sub-standard medicines are one of the major challenges faced across the globe. Assume that a U.S.-based drug company has an exclusively patented high-cost cancer drug that is manufactured only in its U.S. plant and gets shipped all around the world. Say this drug is required by a patient in Japan. While the drug has to travel to the other side of the world, it may have requirements for specialized handling, transportation and storage.
For example, the package may need to be stored in a temperature range of zero to four-degree Celsius, and it cannot to be shipped by air, as higher altitude pressure may cause the drug to lose its medicinal properties. Above all, the authenticity of the drug package and its contents always remains a top concern. (For more, see Can Blockchain Make Medications Cheaper and Safer?)
How Does VeChain Solve the Problem?
VeChain follows the method of asset digitization to help address such problems. VeChain allows manufacturers to assign products with unique identities, like RFIDs and sensors, which are capable of recording and broadcasting information at every stage. This information gets logged on to the public VeChain blockchain, and allows all stakeholders - the manufacturers, the various supply chain partners, and the end consumers – details about the product and its handling.
The drug maker can put a unique identifier, like a VeChain-compatible RFID tag, on each of the drug packages so the authentic drug issued by the company is traceable and verifiable until it reaches the end consumer. This RFID information is then made available on the VeChain blockchain.
Using a dedicated VeChain RFID reader app that works on all mobile phones, the consumer would then know whether the drug he or she receives is genuine, alleviating worries about counterfeit drugs.
Placing the RFID tag at an appropriate location on the drug packet will nullify the possibility of any tampering with the contents of the drug package. This will solve the issue of the contents getting secretly replaced by substandard ones, as any tampering on the package will invalidate the tag.
These RFID tags can be equipped with smart sensors that are capable of recording all necessary information in real time and broadcasting it on the VeChain blockchain network. For example, if a drug that needs to be stored in a specified temperature range is stored by a warehouse inappropriately, then immediate alerts would be sent about the violation for the affected packets.
Similarly, if a transporter takes the drug packet through an aerial route which is not allowed, the altitude sensors would issue alerts that will get recorded on the blockchain, and all the stakeholders, including the end consumer, will become aware of such violations.
VeChain – the Ethereum for Business
While the above example demonstrates an efficient use of VeChain in quality control across supply chain management, it is capable of doing a lot more.
Just as the Ethereum platform supports the working of a variety of decentralized Apps (dApps), VeChain can help streamline a lot of business activities across a variety of sectors using its blockchain-powered cloud services in combination with the Internet of Things (IoT) devices. (See also, An Introduction to Ethereum Classic.)
VeChain has partnered with a European luxury brand that embeds customized NFC chips into its leather products, enabling authentic product verification by the customer. (For more, see De Beers Using Blockchain to Authenticate Diamonds.)
In the auto industry, a car’s details can be uploaded by the manufacturer onto the blockchain, after which all data points about car servicing, spare parts replacement and their authenticity, accident/theft records, and even insurance details can be placed on the blockchain. This information is vital to various parties - including insurance companies, service partners, authorities, and even car-resellers - to ensure fair valuation and track maintenance records for the car.
VeChain can be useful in the agriculture sector by enabling accurate and real-time data gathering and surveillance of farm environment that helps in superior farm output. Such monitoring is possible through the IoT devices that are being developed in-house by VeChain, and work in sync with the VeChain platform.
The VEN Token
The VeChain network's cryptocurrency (VEN) trades on all leading cryp exchanges that include BigOne, Binance, COSS, and HitBTC. At present, VEN can be bought only through other cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or ethereum, as direct purchase with fiat currencies is not possible. As per CoinMarketCap.com, VeChain (VEN) is ranked the 17th cryptocurrency in terms of global market capitalization as of February 2018.
Established in July 2017 by a Singapore-based non-profit called VeChain Foundation, the VeChain network currently operates with 111 nodes spread across the globe. The deployment of VeChain mainnet, which is the main network for carrying out cryptocurrency transactions, is expected to occur during the second quarter of 2018.
The Bottom Line
VeChain provides businesses operating across a range of sectors with blockchain-based solutions for their day-to-day operational issues. With a growing list of business partners that include PwC and DNV GL, VeChain is on its way to helping businesses achieve improved processing and product control.
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