World Economic Forum advocates ‘thoughtful’ blockchain implementation for supply chain post-Covid-19

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has launched a blockchain deployment toolkit aimed at presenting guidelines for implementation best practices – as the body urges that beyond the coronavirus pandemic a ‘thoughtful’ outlook for the technology is required.

The toolkit is the result of more than a year’s work by the WEF, working with more than 100 organisations and 50 countries and looking into 40 blockchain use cases, from provenance and traceability to automation and streamlined operations.

Two pilot programs were put together, which the WEF says produced the findings of a need for objectivity and guidance, as well as streamlined, structured processes.

In a project with The Abu Dhabi Digital Authority (ADDA), WEF looked to implement the document’s best practices in putting blockchain across the public sector’s digital infrastructure. Prior to the pilot, ADDA had found challenges developing a full set of guidelines for blockchain implementation ‘given the dynamic nature of emerging technologies’.

For Saudi Aramco, the parameters were around supplier management and credential verification. With the help of the toolkit, WEF touted, the energy provider was able to develop a structured approach, as well as provide a clear checklist to ensure all aspects of the project were covered during planning and implementation.

In January, the WEF advocated a positive outlook for blockchain technologies in 2020 and beyond – but only if the ‘resignation’ around governance became recognition. “Companies are waking up to the idea that to go far, they ought to go together,” wrote Sheila Warren, WEF head of blockchain and distributed ledger technology at the time.

Since then, the Covid-19 pandemic has caused a seismic threat to ‘business as usual’ processes outlined across industries at the beginning of this year. Linda Lacina, digital editor of the World Economic Forum, noted the potential blockchain technologies could have going forward.

“Covid-19 has shown the vulnerabilities of our supply chains and the opportunity for technologies such as blockchain to boost efficiencies and strengthen trust across a range of stakeholders,” Lacina wrote. “However, as organisations pivot quickly to put these new technologies in place, the crisis has highlighted the need for both speed and clarity in implementations.”

Going forward, Lacina hopes the toolkit will be consulted by organisations focusing on other projects directly combating coronavirus. “The role supply chains play has never been more critical,” wrote Lacina. “The toolkit’s many resources can streamline blockchain implementation efforts for a diverse range of supply chains and their stakeholders ensuring continued resilience.”

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