Jingdong Zhizhen Chain Li Hongguo: How Blockchain Empowers Cold Chain Anti-Counterfeit Traceability

With the continuous improvement of the national living standard, the demand for cold chain goods is also increasing. According to the calculation and analysis of the Cold Chain Committee of the China Federation of Logistics, the total demand for food cold chain logistics in China reached 235 million tons in 2019, an increase of 24.65% year-on-year.

Jingdong Zhizhen Chain Li Hongguo: How Blockchain Empowers Cold Chain Anti-Counterfeit Traceability

With the continuous improvement of the national living standard, the demand for cold chain goods has also been increasing. According to the calculation and analysis of the cold chain committee of the China Federation of Logistics, the total demand for food cold chain logistics in China reached 235 million tons in 2019, an increase of 24.65% year-on-year.

Affected by the epidemic, in November 2020 the National Health Commission issued a “notice on further improving the traceability of cold chain food management”, requiring clear main responsibility, production and operation enterprises should timely and accurately record key data such as inspection and quarantine information, nucleic acid test results, proof of having been disinfected, the source of goods going and the number and location of each batch of key cold chain food. Immediately thereafter, provinces and cities launched cold chain traceability platforms, requiring cold chain goods circulation need to be reported cold chain data before they can be sold.

Jingdong’s anti-counterfeiting traceability platform was built in 2017, and the construction was based on Jingdong Cloud blockchain technology at the beginning, relying on many of Jingdong’s partners, including brands, suppliers, testing vendors, etc. Combined with Jingdong’s own logistics system, a closed-loop supply chain strip was formed.

In order to meet government requirements, it cooperates with government cold chain platforms around the world through Jingdong Zhizhen Chain anti-counterfeiting traceability platform. Up to now, it has served more than 1,000 enterprises and over 100,000 SKUs, which includes more than 20 categories such as fresh food, mother and child, liquor, beauty and cross-border goods, and continues to expand the categories of services and the scope of services.

How does Jingdong Cold Chain Traceability Platform apply blockchain technology? How does the platform empower partners? What value is created for the social ecology? In this regard, Chain New interviewed Li Hongguo, head of blockchain products of Jingdong Zhi Zhen Chain.

Cold chain logistics development faces many challenges

Chain New: At this stage, what are the main pain points and difficulties in the development of cold chain logistics in China?

Li Hongguo: Compared with countries with developed cold chain logistics, the biggest problem of cold chain logistics in China is that the loss rate of fresh products is relatively large, and the whole fresh supply chain is relatively complex, including many links from farmers, products, buyers, intermediaries, wholesalers to retailers. At the same time, the informationization degree of the responsible parties in the whole cold chain supply chain is different, and many of them are still using the traditional data recording method, which also makes the whole chain data of cold chain traceability missing, and thus causes the problem that it is difficult to define the responsibility in the transportation process.

Chain New”: Overall, it seems that the construction and development of China’s blockchain ➕ cold chain is relatively slow, what do you think are the reasons?

Li Hongguo: First of all, China’s cold chain logistics infrastructure is not perfect, and there is not a high degree of informationization in cold chain logistics enterprises, and many enterprises do not have the ability to build blockchain infrastructure. Secondly, the construction of blockchain + cold chain requires enterprises to invest certain funds, and there is no consensus on the role that blockchain can play in the cold chain, and many enterprises are in a wait-and-see situation. Third, blockchain as an emerging technology in recent years, the technical system has not yet matured, the original blockchain underlying technology is more based on research to form a technical solution, in the integration with the business needs further improvement. In addition, in terms of talents, the development of blockchain technology is late, and the corresponding talent reserve is insufficient. These are the factors that restrict the development of blockchain + cold chain construction.

Chain New”: What are your suggestions for blockchain-enabled cold chain logistics?

Li Hongguo: Blockchain-enabled cold chain logistics still depends on the construction of infrastructure, which requires the joint participation of all main nodes in cold chain transportation and the digital upgrade of the whole industry. In addition to traditional refrigeration and freezing technology, the use of IoT devices for real-time data transmission, AI technology for image recognition and other advanced technologies can effectively help cold chain logistics enterprises to improve operational efficiency, timely identify problems in the chain and reduce product loss during transportation. More use the existing data-based platform that has been built to complete the digital upgrade and transformation through a low-cost way.

Chain New”: In the future, what are the application scenarios worth exploring for blockchain ➕ cold chain? What kind of development space exists?

Li Hongguo: As blockchain has the characteristics of decentralization, data tamper-proof, node data openness and transparency, and multi-participation, it can build a large cold chain distribution ecology based on blockchain, and incorporate the cold chain enterprises into this ecological alliance, so that the enterprise’s transportation capacity and cold chain temperature control equipment data can be uploaded in real time, and the cold chain logistics transportation can be carried out through the ecological alliance, which can greatly guarantee the credibility of all kinds of data, and also reduce the trust threshold of node circulation between the links.

At the same time, due to the transparency of information, it can also integrate transportation capacity and realize the maximum utilization of cold chain logistics resources. The cold chain ecological alliance based on blockchain technology avoids the need for a large central institution to invest a lot of money and resources to build a complete cold chain transportation system, and based on blockchain trustworthy technology, it integrates scattered cold chain distribution resources and contributes to the construction of a socialized cold chain network, which is believed to have great room for development in the future.

Committed to becoming a data connector

Chain New: What role does Jingdong cold chain traceability platform hope to play in domestic cold chain logistics?

Li Hongguo: Through continuous construction, Jingdong Cold Chain Traceability Platform expects to play the role of a data connector in the whole cold chain supply chain process. Through the blockchain-based cold chain traceability platform, the subjects in the whole chain will participate in the construction of the alliance and integrate the production data, processing data, inspection and quarantine data, storage data and transportation data, so as to form the complete cold chain traceability data. Solve the problems of data silo, data trust, data security, data supervision and so on.

Chain New: What are the breakthrough strategies of Jingdong for the problems existing in the development of cold chain logistics in China?

Li Hongguo: Jingdong started the research of blockchain technology in 2016, and gradually discovered various problems from applying blockchain technology to the traceability platform, and therefore started the research of blockchain underlying technology, and now has the self-developed blockchain underlying technology JD Chain, as well as the blockchain service platform for enterprises, namely JD BaaS platform.

JD BaaS platform provides blockchain service capability for enterprises in a platform-based manner, so that developers without blockchain technology can use blockchain quickly and conveniently, thus reducing the threshold for enterprises to use blockchain.

In terms of business, Jingdong Logistics’ self-built cold chain logistics and warehousing system, combined with Jingdong Retail, has created a closed-loop cold chain supply chain, which also provides a very good construction foundation for the construction of blockchain + cold chain. Jingdong Cold Chain Traceability first starts from the inside, serving Jingdong’s fresh brand suppliers, etc., and then gradually opens the platform to serve more partners.

Chain New: What value can Jingdong cold chain traceability platform create for the social ecology?

Li Hongguo: From its own perspective, the Jingdong cold chain traceability platform first provides services to Jingdong internally to ensure that the cold chain goods sold by Jingdong meet the regulatory requirements of various places and guarantee the normal circulation of goods. At the same time, it continuously improves the quality image of Jingdong’s traceable goods in consumers’ minds, so that consumers can buy cold chain traceable goods with confidence. In addition, through the complete information records of the cold chain traceability platform, the risk monitoring and early warning strategies for different categories and commodities can be gradually extracted through the integration of data from all parties, thus contributing to the reduction of the loss of Jingdong Fresh.

For enterprise partners, the cold chain traceability platform can solve the situation that repeated code assignment and data reporting may be required due to different policy requirements in different places, and can realize multi-region circulation with one code assignment, thus reducing the operation cost of enterprises and improving the efficiency of commodity circulation.

For consumers, through the whole process of cold chain data tracking, consumers can understand the control situation of the whole process of transportation from the source to the whole process, so as to realize assured shopping; for government supervision, through the integrated data reporting, the situation of each link of cold chain transportation can be grasped in a timely manner, and problems can be found and precisely positioned to improve supervision efficiency.

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