Block Array is a blockchain network based on the Ethereum network providing logistics and Internet of Things (IoT) services to businesses. It completed a $14.4 million initial coin offering (ICO) on January 10, with community interest in its transport, logistics, and enterprise solutions.
Uniquely, Block Array is compatible with both the Ethereum network and Hyperledger, a blockchain consortium led by the Linux Foundation and many leading Fortune 500 conglomerates such as Intel, JPMorgan, Accenture, Airbus, Daimler, IBM and Cisco. Hyperledger focus on the development of permissioned ledgers, allowing large-scale companies to integrate high performance blockchains efficiently.
The core concept of Block Array revolves around the usage of smart barcodes that are embedded onto public blockchains like the Ethereum network. Currently, logistics companies rely on barcodes to track products and identify goods. However, the barcodes do not provide much information apart from the origin and the description of products. Through the utilization of blockchain technology, Block Array allows companies to attach GS1 barcodes anchored to the blockchain.
GS1 barcodes provide anti-counterfeit features, disallowing bad actors in the supply chain from illegally copying products and distributing counterfeit items in the public market. The primary purpose of Block Array’s token, ARY, is to enable companies to embed smart barcodes on products and send those barcodes with product information to the Ethereum blockchain network with ARY tokens.
For many years, companies like Accenture and Deloitte have explored the potential of blockchain technology in the logistics and supply chain industry. Intel, the $227 billion technology conglomerate, released the Sawtooth blockchain last year, as a part of the Hyperledger initiative. Since early 2017, the interest and demand for logistics blockchains has increased rapidly, especially for logistics blockchain networks that are based on a public blockchain like Ethereum.
According to the Block Array team, the platform uses the Ethereum blockchain network to anchor information or records of products with timestamp, to eliminate the possibility of counterfeiting and fraud. In large supply chains run by multi-billion dollar organizations, counterfeits and fraudulent products are common, due to the limitations of centralized networks.
“We are using the Ethereum blockchain to ‘anchor’ records by burning a token for creating a timestamp. A proof is a JSON-LD document, that contains the information to cryptographically verify a piece of data is anchored to a blockchain. It proves the data existed at time,” explained Block Array.
Each GS1 smart barcode of Block Array contains a wide range of information from cryptocurrency addresses, software library (mobile applications, sensors), and URL. The unique barcode of each product can be decoded to access all of the information it contains, to ensure the authenticity and origin of the item.
“With a GS1 Barcode you will have access to large retailers, including Amazon FBA (fulfillment by amazon). It is an international standard that having access to allows your goods to be traded internationally. Buying a GS1 Barcode does not mean that these companies will sell your products, only that you can offer your goods at these retailers,” said the Block Array team, emphasizing that GS1 barcodes offered by Block Array cost $40, while the barcodes offered by retailers cost over $80.
The idea of Block Array is to have each barcode contain as much information as possible to verify the authenticity of each product, and store the data on an immutable ledger to prevent fraudulent activities and counterfeit activities.