Mastercard Takes on IBM In Blockchain’s Food Fight

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Mastercard is taking a bite out of the blockchain food traceability market after signing a deal with Envisible, a food supply chain visibility provider, which will allow some supermarkets in the US to trustlessly trace the origins of seafood. The move will see Envisible’s Wholechain traceability system sit on top of Mastercard’s Provenance Solution, the company’s in-house blockchain traceability solution, which will in turn be used by Topco Associates, LLC, a leading US food cooperative. The development sees Mastercard make inroads into a sector currently dominated by IBM, who have been snapping up food traceability companies like a dog at dinner time.

Food City to Pilot Scheme

Topco announced the move via a press release on Sunday, stating that Food City would be the first member grocery chain to pilot the scheme, which they say will “provide better line of sight into ethical sourcing and environmental compliance of the seafood selection sold at their stores.” Scott Caro, senior vice president of Fresh at Topco, said that the linkup between Food City and Envisible would meet consumers’ “expectations for reliable information about the food that they eat”, while Dan Glei, executive vice president of Merchandising and Marketing at Food City, added that, “Using Envisible Wholechain, powered by Mastercard, our grocers will be able to stock shelves with confidence and also be able to pinpoint issues in the food chain during any unfortunate events such as recalls.”

Great for Blockchain, Great for Consumers

Mastercard has filed over 100 blockchain-related patents in its attempts to keep pace with the likes of IBM in the race for blockchain adoption, with the press release claiming that they are “number three globally among top blockchain innovators”, while their Provenance Solution “provides a secure tamper-proof ledger, high transaction throughput, enhanced security, transaction privacy, and support for multiple use cases with one deployment.” Mastercard’s use of an internal purpose-built blockchain is in contrast to IBM’s Food Trust program, which is based on a permissioned version of the public Hyperledger Fabric technology. The fact that two such huge names are going head to head in the field of blockchain-based food traceability is great for the space and for consumers, regardless of who ends up with the turkey crown.