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Think 2018: IBM Outlines “5 in 5” – Including Tiny Blockchain Computers in Everyday Devices

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IBM’s flagship conference is currently running in Las Vegas, and blockchain has already been heavily featured. The highlight of the conference so far was the IBM “5 in 5” section, in which the tech giant announced its predictions for five technological advancements that would happen in the next five years.

Five in Five

Featuring in the predictions were technology to clean up the world’s oceans, quantum computers that could put an end to hacking – known as lattice cryptography – and using micro-computers as chips to track supply chain movements and verify authenticity of products, using blockchain technology.

The excerpt from IBM’s blog reads:

Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors — such as ink dots or tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt — will be embedded in everyday objects and devices. They’ll be used in tandem with blockchain’s distributed ledger technology to ensure an object’s authenticity from its point of origin to when it reaches the hands of the customer. These technologies pave the way for new solutions that tackle food safety, authenticity of manufactured components, genetically modified products, identification of counterfeit objects and provenance of luxury goods.

The notion of using blockchain in supply chain management and control is something that has been investigated by a number of startups in recent times. MIT-based Eximchain, for example, have just raised $20 million in their ICO. The distributed ledger technology is ideal for ensuring that products are uniquely identified, tracked and monitored. This kind of technological application could in the future put an end to unethical supply chain practices, such as illegal fishing. It could also see the end of knock-off merchandise through microchipping – using computers which, according to IBM, would be around the same size as a grain of salt.

There have been a number of uses for blockchain technology which have been explored in the last 6-12 months. The financial, educational and gaming markets have been saturated with ICOs, but it may well be that the most valuable usage that is uncovered in the near future is in supply chain management, where there is still very much an ethical battle to be won.

Image Credit: Deposit Photos

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