On May 26, 2017, Taiwan-based leading ecommerce platform OwlTing announced the successful integration of OwlChain, the world's first provenance system that runs on Ethereum, into its supply chain infrastructure. The innovation is the result of a partnership between OwlTing, agribusiness giant Nice Garden, and food supplier Upwelling Ocean.
OwlTing's website divulges greater detail on the technology that backs the supply chain. A private blockchain provided by Ethereum-based AMIS allows enterprises to easily integrate without having to construct proprietary blockchains or develop executable distributed code contracts [EDCCs].
Two scenarios are portrayed on the site:
Founder of OwlTing Darren Wang returned to his roots in Taiwan to combat homesickness after achieving success in Silicon Valley with Google and other tech startups. Wang's motivations are simple. "I'm doing this new business to provide fresh milk and healthy foods for my kids," said Wang. He went on to say:
"We are extremely meticulous when it comes to food. Products with additives, artificial coloring or flavoring cannot be sold on OwlTing. While this business approach may seem unwise and cumbersome, our approach has identified over 1,500 farmers and merchants, and that's just in Taiwan."
OwlTing offers customer rewards for making recommendations which have allowed for a 70% retention rate. The platform also benefits the farmers. One success story involves Chu-En Farm based in Changhua, which was able to purchase more than 30 milk cows and increase production by 15%, only 10 months after working with the platform, according to OwlTing. This investment is the first that Chu-En farm has made in 30 years. Wang said OwlTing wants to help farmers earn more, "so they can invest in their future."
A longtime interest for Wang is food safety, and it has been OwlTing's focus since inception. As concerns mount over the quality of the products consumers eat, traceability and quality control became central to OwlTing's mission to provide healthy, safe food choices for its customers. Blockchain technology allows the company to make a “tamper-resistant food provenance” system with an API that’s open to global vendors. Expected to join the platform are Taiwan Agricultural Global Marketing, Sinhong Soy Sauce, Ming-Chuan Dairy Farm, and With Heart Meat Shop.
OwlTing’s partner Nice Garden has sought to reengineer the pig farming industry from the ground up by consolidating the supply chain. Nice Garden dabbles in the genetic resources of pigs, selection of nutritional supplements, sophisticated meat processing, and distribution, all the while implementing strict control procedures.
Kevin Wu, COO of Nice Garden Group, spoke of the company's commitment to process standards:
"From the beginning, Nice Garden has always asked for the highest food safety standards. For the company's developments and growths, we value process and education. People nowadays tend to only look at the results, but the source and process are equally important as the results. We look forward to seeing product traceability becoming more transparent through utilizing Blockchain technology, so that the devotion of quality companies and professionals can be widely recognized."
Upwelling Ocean supports the practice of sustainable fishing and maintains a Responsible Fisheries Index. Encompassing fished and farmed seafood, the index is a tracing mechanism to ensure tenable practices and help put an end to unregulated, illegal fishing.
Founder of Upwelling Ocean Steven Shyu talked about how blockchain technology can aid the company in its mission:
"According to UN statistics, 77% of global fishing resources have reached saturation or are overdeveloped. In recent years, people in Taiwan become more aware of seafood safety and the production process' impacts on the resources. We hope to transform the sustainability into actions. Blockchain technology is unique as it cannot be altered, it's traceable, and it will bring higher credibility to our marine environment protection label. Not only will it facilitates sustainable use of ocean resources in Taiwan, we can share this concept with fishing industries in other regions in the world that rely on local productions and distributions."
Venture Capital firm Kyber Capital is assisting in the expansion of OwlChain. Founder and CEO Thomas Hu acknowledged that blockchain-based supply chain network services are gaining more attention in the field of FinTech. He said:
"OwlTing and AMIS have combined their R&D capabilities in e-commerce and FinTech to build OwlChain, a new platform with huge business opportunities. This showcase has proved once again Taiwan's leading talent for Blockchain innovations. Kyber will continue to help OwlChain commercialize and expand to global markets."
For consumers and businesses alike, OwlChain seems to be a step in a sustainable direction.