Securing transactions from farm to fork: tapping the global potential in blockchain-enabled smart trade

BeefLedger and Smart Trade Networks chair Warwick Powell discuss the Ethereum-enabled digital platform he’s developed with the QUT project team, and its potential to make cross-border trade more transparent, streamlined and secure.

In this 10-minute presentation, part of the CRC’s 2021 Research Showcase in December, QUT Adjunct Professor and ‘serial entrepreneur’ Warwick Powell – former academic, Queensland Government advisor, pan-Asian investor, founder-chair of fin-tech start-ups BeefLedger and Smart Trade Networks and industry partner in the project – explains the challenges of developing a secure, streamlined, Ethereum-enabled digital platform and its potential to transform cross-border trade.

About the ‘Smart trade’ platform collaboration

The CRC’s ‘Smart trade hubs’ project series continues an ongoing collaboration between digital trade platform developer BeefLedger, its spinoff, Smart Trade Networks, and a multidisciplinary research team at Queensland University of Technology led by Professor Marcus Foth.

Over five years, working first with the Food Agility CRC and then with Future Food Systems, the project team has developed an Ethereum-enabled digital trading platform that allows secure, streamlined transactions and traceability all along a supply chain, from primary producer to end market. This acts not only as an assurance to stakeholders but as an indelible record of transactions in the chain.

In the first phase of a three-year, four-part project under the Future Food Systems CRC, the research team provided a proof of concept (POC) for the BeefLedger platform, trialling it successfully in e-commerce markets across China.

In September 2020, the project netted BeefLedger a Good Design Australia Award. The following month, the company expanded into Japan, signing an MoU with Foodzation. Soon afterwards, Paradise Gin decided to use BeefLedger’s blockchain-enabled digital platform to track its product.

In the current ‘Smart trade’ project with Future Food Systems (Phase 2), the project team is extending the prototype platform to cover new products and new markets such as South-East Asia.

About Adjunct Professor Warwick Powell

Warwick Powell began his career in academia, teaching Chinese history and European cultural history at Queensland’s Griffith University. Early in his career, he deferred a DFAT post-grad scholarship to study at Beijing’s People’s University to take up a position in the Queensland Government, first as personal private secretary and researcher to state Labor MP Kevin Rudd, then as Advisor to Queensland’s Minister for Mines and Energy. Moving from government to industry in 1996, Powell founded an economics and statistical research firm, grew it to employ 700 employees in three years, then sold the company and began a new career in pan-Asian investment banking before founding BeefLedger and later, Smart Trade Networks (SCP Capital). Powell is also the founder of Sister City Partners Ltd, a not-for-profit entity.

View the video here.