Last Friday (29 June 2018), BeefLedger led a co-design workshop with industry and university research experts under the umbrella of the Food Agility Cooperative Research Centre (FA CRC).

The CRC is a $150m initiative funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government to promote the application of digital technologies to improving national agribusiness competitiveness and sustainability.

BeefLedger is a Founding Industry Partner of the FA CRC. The Workshop is part of FA CRC’s funding application process. An Exports Smart Contracts project scope is now being finalised with industry and research partners to take forward for co-funding.


The purpose of the Workshop was to bring together industry, regulators and research academics in a collaborative environment to address critical issues in the following key areas:

  1. Internet of Things and Data Oracles;
  2. Transactions Requirements (contractual and compliance);
  3. Economics, particularly the potential for crypto-economic mechanism design thinking to be introduced to drive supply chain behaviour change; and
  4. Materials, namely how the digital world interfaces with innovations in the physical or material environment of beef processing, packaging and transport.

The ambitious program focused on development a project framework aimed at, among other things, achieving the following:

  1. Successful design and trial deployment of smart contracts as an acceptable and cost-effective replacement of Documentary Letters of Credit and Letters of Credit to export frozen boxed beef to China;
  2. Scope the design and implement trials of crypto-economic incentive mechanisms focused on changing the behavioural conditions that are presently conducive to product substitution; and
  3. Highlight how improved data flows, from producer to consumer and back, can generate more ecological and community value in regional communities noting that approximately 200,000 people are employed by the beef supply chain in Australia.


Workshop participants included:

  1. Various participants from the beef supply chain including processors and packers, and exporters;
  2. Smart contract developers and software architects;
  3. Export documentation digitalisation experts;
  4. Cryptographic research specialists from Monash University;
  5. IOT and blockchain specialists from University of Technology, as well as private sector collaborators;
  6. Human-machine interface research specialists from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT);
  7. Behavioural economists from QUT;
  8. Community impact advisors and researchers (QUT);
  9. Industry Association representatives;
  10. Regulators; and
  11. An Innovation Broker from Food Agility CRC.


As the focus of the Workshop was on the design of an Export Smart Contracts project, the critical issues focused on the inter-relationships between the analogue supply chain (the ‘real world’ of beef cattle production, transformation, distribution and consumption), the digitalisation of its attributes and relationships to a blockchain architecture.

The key elements for the project are:

  1. Data Oracles, where our main concern was on the mechanisms needed for the validation of exogenous data and its sources. The application of ring signatures and zero knowledge proofs was a hot topic of discussion;
  2. The Internet of Things layer (and related issues associated with the general idea of the relationships or mechanisms that ‘link’ the analogue and the digital realms). IOT and blockchain integration along the entirety of the supply chain was addressed, with specific use case opportunities to be rolled out over the next 6 months to enable proof of concepts to be field tested; and
  3. The blockchain state-change procedures and mechanisms per se. Here, we were interested in the interrelated issues of legal and economic matters in terms of compliance with export requirements and the design requirements to change incentive / disincentive dynamics impacting on the propensity for product substitution at the distribution function of the supply chain.


The Workshop concluded with a commitment to finalise a work program covering 2 x 6 months’ phase of project design, development and implementation. The work program will detail key milestones, harnessing the combined expertise and capabilities of all those present. It will be presented to the Food Agility CRC for co-funding.

As a work in progress, the Workshop demonstrated the power of multi-disciplinary collaboration when tackling real world use cases for the application of blockchain technologies and crypto-economic ideas.