Blockchain Technology for Tracking and Tracing in Supply Chains: A Critical Viewpoint

Date
2021-01-05
Authors
Straubert, Christian
Sucky, Eric
Mattke, Jens
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Abstract
Tracking and tracing (TnT) in supply chains (SCs) is often mentioned as a very promising area of application for blockchains. At the same time, there is also much reticence and even disillusionment in practice. In this context, we present a literature meta-review and discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using blockchains in SCs. We find that public permissionless blockchains offer new functionalities (e.g. pseudonymity), which however are often not desired. Moreover, a blockchain loses value in the context of SCs because there is a physical level (goods) in addition to the digital level (information) and these two levels do not necessarily match. Furthermore, we present a survey of TnT solution providers, which indicates that there are complexity and collaboration problems in supply chains that even a blockchain cannot alleviate. Nevertheless, the surveyed experts generally have a positive attitude towards the blockchain and are willing to give it a chance.
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Keywords
Blockchain Cases and Innovations, blockchain, supply chain, track-and-trace, meta-review, survey
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