Our work upon this project was inspired by the research paper we wrote (link) back in March 2020 ,which was to be presented at The International Conference On Innovation In Science And Technology (ICIST-2020).
In today's economy, the increasing demand for digitization is due to government initiatives.Surprisingly, transportation is currently highly dependent on paperwork that has not been securely digitized. Shipping information usually travels through numerous companies and contractors, which is something that should be avoided during this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Keeping in mind, a late approval or a lost form can leave goods stuck and lead to further delay for the transportation of necessary goods to the COVID-19 hotspots.
Thus, inefficient product procurement processes can account for more damage.
A supply chain blockchain could boost transparency, trust and predictability allowing regional offices to track where a shipment from the central government is at any given time.
What it does
Since, a blockchain is an immutable ledger, changes in possession and ownership of goods as they move from their producer to their point of retail could be entered into the ledger instantaneously and permanently.
Because a blockchain is decentralized, it has no single point of failure.
Dispute resolution rules could be agreed upon beforehand and applied instantly on the blockchain when necessary.
Blockchain can help regional governments realize the digital supply chain by providing a “single version of the truth” for the entire supply chain.
By sharing important information such as sales data, COVID risk levels, order and shipment information, companies can eliminate information delays and the uncertainty that contributes to “the bullwhip effect” and inflates the safety stock price.
With all regional and central government offices posting to a common ledger, citizens can gain visibility to their entire networks, from their regional offices to their central offices.
This enables them to foresee problems and address them, resulting in a smoother, more efficient supply chain.
The Block Covid app allows:
1. Affordable high-quality quotes from the source
2. On-demand purchasing, tracking and reordering.
3. Secure transactions and communications through smart contracts.
4. Direct connection to the regional manufacturing facility
5. Incentives for pricing quotes quickly.
How we built it
We used Ganache to create a local blockchain instance. For writing smart contracts using solidity we followed the ERC-20 standard instructions to create a standard API for tokens within smart contracts.This standard provides basic functionality to transfer tokens, as well as allow tokens to be approved so they can be spent by another on-chain third party(In this project : Metamask).This facilitated decentralized exchanges.We used web3.js to establish an interaction with a local or remote ethereum node and React.js for building the user interface.
Challenges we ran into
Managing Decentralization Enabling blockchain technology to support decentralized applications managed by separate regions, and centralized, industry focused exchanges at the same time, required us to think and come up with an efficient model which turned out to be slightly complex.
Data Complexity A blockchain application stores every transaction in a distributed ledger, which can add up, particularly when it is used by multiple parties.These factors can lead to larger data structures that each regional government might have to manage. The supply chain's side of the network must include context for transactions, such as a purchase order, the owner of the materials, the timestamp and the equipment, to effectively operate at scale. To overcome this problem, we created a common wallet network for transaction management which largely reduced the data complexions.
Need For Smart Contracts Blockchain applications are written as smart contracts that could help streamline supply chain management processes that cross organizational boundaries. We wrote our own smart contracts in order to fit certain corner case transactions.
As stated above, we had previously researched about designing a blockchain model, but we implemented the same within a weekend along with a decentralized marketplace. We wrote our own smart contracts which accounted for secure transactions and on-demand purchasing.
What's next for Block COVID
To implement more ERC-20 Standard functions and improve the smart contracts architecture for secure transactions and communication. Addition of real-time shipment tracking and a direct connection to the regional manufacturing facility would increase the network of manufacturers. Post Covid, the established blockchain network can be used to create a more efficient supply chain eliminating inefficient product procurement processes and reducing the uncertainty that contributes to "the bullwhip effect".