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18 SMT007 MAGAZINE I AUGUST 2020 stage of still trying to get together to be able to go through that minimum energy barrier. If you could get through the specific minimum level of energy you need to achieve and over- come, then people will really come together and grow the blockchain into the ecosystem level of usage. Right now, a lot of things that we're doing are still between just a few partic- ipants, from the electronic supply chain per- spective, and the next phase will be about get- ting a bigger number of participants into one blockchain to slowly grow and con- nect. Johnson: In technology, new solutions tend not to make systems simpler. Instead, they tend to allow complex systems to become even more com- plex yet more manageable. That's probably key as the industry is taking stock of the fact that the global sup- ply chain is a throttled-down channel in some key places. Supply chain solu- tions using blockchain would allow a more network nodal, mesh-type sup- ply chain without losing control of the provenance of your product. Begue: At least in building the nec- essary level of trust, it's faster. One solution we are promoting, called "trust your supplier," aims to bring together all the necessary infor- mation that describes a supplier. Who are they? What are their rea- sons for business? Where are they located? What are their capabilities, human rights records, environmental certification, banking information, etc.? Of course, when you enter in a conversation with a supplier, you ask for this data, and they provide it to you, but how do you know when it gets updated, and is there any change? How do you know when it's accurate? It's a fair amount of work for the supplier to maintain that data set and constantly update that data. What if you had a blockchain where that data would be uploaded, kept updated, certified by a certifying agency, and accessible to people who are interested in doing business with you? You would reach that level of trust faster. Johnson: That would be the payoff. In answer to the question, "Is this going to grow for us over time?" the short answer would be, "It looks like it will." Begue: This is a network-based solution. In the beginning, you need to have people willing to get started, trying to bring their business partners onto it, and then after that, the network effects work in your favor. Once you have a number of your sup- pliers onboard, these same suppliers are supplying to other people, and it would be easier for the next person to connect and get onboarded. Johnson: How should interested com- panies get involved in the collabora- tion? Begue: There are industry associations and industry groups interested in try- ing to define good ways of using block- chain across the electronic supply chain from a data representation or maybe the choreography associated with the exchange of that data. Michelle and I—and Michelle, in particular—are actively involved in these, and our posi- tion is that it values more shared and open standardization. It makes the life of everybody easier. We try to help in that direction. Lam: With so many different organizations starting to define how they should use block- chain in their world, it's evidence that it is our future. We're going to use it as a very common underlining, underpinning all the technology. Johnson: This was terrific information. Thanks for your time. Beguec: Absolutely. Lam: Thank you. SMT007

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