How effective is the legal effect of product blockchain traceability?

As a credit paradigm, blockchain technology is often used for traceability of various products in recent years. It is generally believed that the blockchain traceability technology of products has two advantages: one is that it can prevent the merchants from deceiving consumers by providing false information about the goods, and the other is that it can increase the credit of each node in the product supply chain . However, the credibility of blockchain traceability technology does not mean that its realistic reflection can meet the litigation evidence standard. This article aims to discuss the effectiveness and deficiencies of blockchain traceability technology for legal relief for readers’ reference.

The value of product blockchain traceability

From hard-to-preserve fresh products to sophisticated electronic products, products usually need to be transported through a complex supply chain before they reach consumers. This is especially common in multinational companies involving multiple jurisdictions such as suppliers, manufacturers, transporters, storage facilities, distributors, and retailers.

Based on the credible characteristics of the “trustlessness” and “decentralization” of the blockchain , the traceability technology of the blockchain can provide a “digital passport” for the aforementioned items or transactions in the supply chain, and “endorses” the trade process, and Provide a traceable and verifiable audit channel. Once there is a problem with the product, the subject of any link can find the source of the problem through traceability technology and prepare effective evidence for filing a lawsuit .

The attitude of our country’s law on the deposit of blockchain technology

With the trend of information on the chain, China’s laws have gradually recognized the credibility of blockchain evidence in recent years. The Provisions of the Supreme People’s Court on Several Issues Concerning the Trial of Cases by Internet Courts, which came into effect as early as September 7, 2018, contain the relevant content of blockchain evidence and stipulate that the last paragraph of Article 11 states: “Electronic data submitted by the parties If it can prove its authenticity through electronic signatures, trusted timestamps, hash value verification, blockchain and other evidence collection, fixation, and tamper-proof technical means, or through electronic forensics storage platform authentication, the Internet court shall confirm .”

Article 16 of the “People’s Court Online Litigation Rules” issued by the Supreme Law and that just came into effect earlier this month further endows blockchain evidence with strong probative power : “The electronic data submitted by the parties as evidence is stored through blockchain technology. If the technical verification is consistent, the people’s court may determine that the electronic data has not been tampered with after being uploaded, unless there is evidence to the contrary sufficient to overturn it.”

So, is it not possible to use online information as evidence for cases that do not apply to online litigation or Internet courts? The answer is no. Although the “Civil Procedure Law” does not separately discuss blockchain evidence, the information on the chain can obviously be included in the category of electronic data stipulated in Article 63 of the “Civil Procedure Law” . The litigation is not conducted online, and the blockchain evidence can better reflect the authenticity of the information on the chain.

In fact, the current obstacles to the application of blockchain technology in trial procedures do not lie in legal provisions, but in the unfamiliarity of the relevant technology by the judges, third-party appraisal or evidence deposit institutions. Therefore, how to better explain the connotation of this technology to the judges is the key to the relevant litigation.

Limitations of product blockchain traceability

As mentioned earlier, the information on the chain of the product can be certified through blockchain technology to ensure that the judicial authority recognizes its authenticity. But the product is the real thing after all, and the blockchain traceability technology is prone to problems in the process of externalization and specific to the product-as long as there is a human input link, there is a possibility of fraud.

Some friends often have such a misunderstanding: the technical feasibility and security of blockchain traceability are equivalent to the effectiveness of its associated application scenarios as evidence. Here, as a legal person, Sister Sa’s team must point out that the relevant blockchain evidence cannot meet the highly probabilistic standard for proving the source of the product . In other words, when a merchant is sued for product liability, the information on the chain cannot independently prove the source of the product .

Taking the traceability of agricultural products as an example, the technology and product association method is to stick a QR code on each agricultural product. Investigating its problems, on the one hand, consumers cannot verify whether the information on the chain is consistent with the real situation; on the other hand, consumers cannot be sure whether the on-chain information reflected by a specific QR code is the information of the corresponding agricultural product. In order to fully verify the authenticity of the product information, there is a practice of synchronized video recording, which is sufficient for traceability and has nothing to do with blockchain technology.

In other words, Sister Sa’s team believes that blockchain technology traceability is difficult to solve the authenticity problem of the product, and at most increases the cost of counterfeiting upstream and downstream of the supply chain to a certain extent .

Write at the end

Affected by regulatory policies, the application models of blockchain technology that can be put into actual operations are limited, and traceability is an important part of the continued existence of blockchain technology-related business models . Although there is still a certain distance from the traceability of information on the chain to the evidence review standard, compared with the previous black box, for consumers, the approach of information on the chain and searchable is a major breakthrough in the protection of the right to know . We look forward to the further improvement of the traceability business model.


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