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Coca Cola bottlers to trial public Ethereum for supply chain transparency

coca cola coke truck

Coke One North America Services (CONA), owned by the major Coca Cola bottling companies, is to try out the Baseline Protocol, a public Ethereum blockchain technology targeted at enterprise use cases. Blockchain startups Unibright and Provide jointly announced the project, which was confirmed on LinkedIn by CONA’s Director of Innovation.

CONA already has a Hyperledger Fabric solution developed in conjunction with SAP, which enables bottlers to share data. A bottler may not always have sufficient stock on hand for delivery, so another franchise might sometimes make up the shortfall. The process involves lengthy reconciliations. Now that data is shared using Fabric between CONA bottlers and franchisees. However, there’s a desire to include external suppliers such as the manufacturers of cans and bottles. Hence the desire to use a public blockchain.

The Baseline Protocol is a collection of software on top of Ethereum that enables the internal systems of two or more companies to be synchronized without storing confidential data on the public blockchain. Hence if a supplier has insufficient stock, instead of the buyer being surprised at the delivery of a different quantity, when a supplier makes an alteration, the change is represented on the blockchain.

The solution won’t store the details of the order itself, but a Zero Knowledge proof of it. Zero Knowledge Proofs also protect any smart contracts. Additionally, outputs such as invoices are tokenized, which means invoices can be factored using Decentralized Finance or DeFi.

“What you’re doing is injecting the hash, the state marker into an ERC 20 (token) and moving that around, which would look like nonsense to anybody other than the parties that were doing it,” said ConsenSys’ John Wolpert at the launch of Baseline in March. “So you could do invoice factoring on the main net out in the open, without your competitor knowing anything about your invoices.”

Perhaps the more interesting aspect is the integration of both the ERP and a Hyperledger Fabric solution with the public Ethereum blockchain. An initial version of the project is expected to be released in Q4 2020.

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