It was recently announced that Chinese insurance firm ZhongAn will be implementing their own blockchain platform. ZhongAn blockchain initiative has been designed to allow the insurance giant to process and validate transactions on a decentralized basis.
The company is looking to leverage the benefits of blockchain’s smart contract functionalities to streamline their insurance claim processing. Smart contracts allow transactions to be completed automatically once certain criteria are met making it much easier for insurance claims to be handled and for money to be transferred.
In its mission to incorporate blockchain technology, ZhongAn has implemented a blockchain server known as Anlink to address the common privacy challenges that companies are facing when implementing distributed ledger technology applications.
In addition to this blockchain initiative, the company also has partnered with the Shanghai Blockchain Industry Development Research Alliance via its tech incubator business unit, to track the journey of chickens from supplier to consumer using blockchain technology. According to ZhongAn’s Chief Executive Officer, Chen Wei, “each of our chickens wears an anklet since birth” which “sends real-time data about the bird’s whereabouts, and how much exercise it gets every day”.
ZhongAn blockchain endeavor comes in response to challenges raised throughout the supply of organic goods. Currently, it is extremely difficult for suppliers to verify the integrity of their produce. It is even more problematic for them to ensure that all meat and animal products have been ethically sourced.
ZhongAn’s application will help to address these challenges by logging key data points in the blockchain such as how much exercise the chickens get, and detailed information on their journey to reach the end consumer. As Wei stated,“when you shop and see raw chicken, you can simply check on your smartphone app to know its birthplace, what food it ate, and how many steps it walked during its life”. A customer will be able to tell if the chicken they bought was from a free-range source.
Meat sourcing transparency has become extremely important to consumers as they are becoming more conscious of animal rights and supporting companies with organic or free-range chickens. Over the past decade, consumers have become less willing to support companies that keep non free-range chicken.
This trend has become increasingly important in China with the expansion of the middle class and rising expectations over food quality. ZhongAn plans to make it easier for consumers to view the supply chain of chicken, and is even starting to implement facial recognition software to help track chickens.
In the long term, this will not only help to increase the quality of goods flowing to end consumer, but will make it much easier to ensure animal products have been sourced without mistreatment or poor conditions. By making the supply chain more transparent ethically conscious brands can ensure that their product has not been mistreated.