National Science & Technology Development Agency - Thailand; National Electronics & Computer Technology Center (NECTEC); Mahidol University; King Mongkuts University of Technology Thonburi
IEEE-INST ELECTRICAL ELECTRONICS ENGINEERS INC
We explored the use of blockchain technology for traceability to improve the safety and value of food, focusing on the coffee supply chain as a case study. The main goal was to evaluate the feasibility in terms of design, perceived benefits, and challenges of applying blockchain and traceability from the users' perspective. We implemented a prototype using a user-centered iterative interface design. Then we used the prototype to answer our research questions in mixed-method research, including in-depth interviews (10 participants) and a survey (350 participants) with stakeholders in the coffee supply chain in Thailand. The results showed that timeline-based design was preferred over map-based or text-based design for the visualization of traceability information and that blockchain was a promising technology, as 67% of the survey participants saw a positive influence of blockchain on the adoption of applications. The most notable benefits were origin checking and increasing product trustworthiness. The most notable challenges were inaccurate or incomplete information and the disclosure of trade secrets. More work is required to address the challenges for everyone in the supply chain ecosystem to adopt the proposed traceability system, including (1) providing trustworthiness and completeness of information by cross-checking with third parties or other users, (2) protecting sensitive information by aligning users' interests or allowing control of information disclosure, and (3) educating and giving producers the motivation for the difficulty and the extra work.