The BeefLedger team was well-represented at today’s Distributed Ledger Symposium hosted by our colleagues at Griffith University. Here are some of the highlights.

Dr Valeri Natanelov

BeefLedger’s post-doctoral research fellow, Dr Val Natanelov, discussed some of the broader issues surrounding the role of “digital twins” in decentralised ledgers and how the dynamics of interactions between the “real and digital worlds” is being thought through in our specific design application case.

Dr Val Natanelov at today’s Distributed Ledger Symposium

Adjunct Professor Warwick Powell

Company Founder and Chairman Adjunct Professor Warwick Powell joined a panel at the end of the Symposium, which canvassed issues concerning the future challenges and opportunities for blockchain technologies.

Warwick emphasised the importance of thinking through the role of decentralised data as a platform for greater empowerment and cautioned against the creation of “data cartels” at the expense of those least able to fend for themselves – that is, the “data poor”.

Warwick Powell joins others on an industry and academic panel discussing global issues, opportunities and challenges for blockchain technologies

Warwick also touched on global issues requiring a grounded appreciation of the role of the technology and associated social mechanisms in fostering greater cross-border collaboration and peaceful development, particularly in relation to Australia’s largest trading partner. He noted that China was moving fast down the blockchain path, and Australia needs to take concerted action to remain connected to this dynamic growth centre and market place.

He told the audience:

“When it comes to China, we need to become braver and more generous so that we can engage constructively with Australia’s largest trading partner to mobilise the promise of the decentralised knowledge consensus protocols so as to realise long term regional peace and security and enhanced trade.”

Speaking of the immediate experience in the beef supply chain, Warwick illustrated the concerns about “data cartels” by referencing the importance of ensuring end consumers had a seat at the data verification table. “After all, it’s consumers that pay the full price for products and at best are exposed to the risk of not getting what they paid for; and worse, are exposed to the risk of consuming something that could be very harmful,” he said. Data systems that exclude the consumer are not a desirable use of blockchain technologies because they don’t overcome the problems of information asymmetry.

Griffith University Research – Beef Processing

The BeefLedger team were also pleased to hear a presentation from David Barnes on Blockchain for the Red Meat Industry: Where and How?, in which the findings of recent research undertaken for the Australian Meat Processor Corporation on traceability challenges in abattoirs.

Griffith University’s David Barnes’ presentation included the finding from MLA research (2018) that “only half of the Australian branded beef in the Chinese market actually came from Australia”.

As shown in one of his leading slides, industry bodies such as MLA have acknowledged the risk of counterfeiting of Australian beef in markets like China, a point that BeefLedger has previously noted as well. “We are pleased that our observations, based on the conclusions of independent bodies like PWC, Chinese university researchers and Australian industry bodies like MLA – as reported here – have been affirmed,” said Warwick Powell after hearing David’s presentation.