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Blockchain first hit the headlines and attracted interest because of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as it is one of the underlying technologies that enables bitcoin transactions to take place. The potential of blockchain however, is far broader than cryptocurrency. 

The concepts behind Blockchain can be relatively complex, but at its core Blockchain is a technology that enables trust in the transfer of value or assets between two parties without the need for a trusted middleman (like a bank for example).  All the exchanges (transactions) are recorded in a list or as it is commonly referred to; a “ledger”, that is shared (distributed) between all users of the blockchain.

Currently, across industries there is a lot of interest in blockchain technology and there is significant investment occurring internationally. In Australia there is also much activity, however most is still at the proof of concept stage with limited measurable impact. MLA is undertaking several levy and MDC funded research projects to identify valuable blockchain use cases for the red meat industry. Please refer to the table below for Blockchain projects currently underway or completed.

Evaluation of Blockchain Technology to deliver industry integrity programs Investigate whether blockchaintechnology offers any advantages for MLA/ISC in how industry integrity programs are managed(i.e. decentralised model over a centralised model), with specific focus on the Mirror database Completed
Evaluation of Technology to support provenance Explore the benefits of using as an alternative process to verify provenance within 2 beef supply chains. In progress
Development of integrity system to connect International consumer with Australian red meat for increased value Evaluate a pilot demonstration of an encrypted supply chain that goes beyond the uniquely identified primal package to final consumer retail packaging for both a lamb and beef supply chain In progress