Ford and IBM Partners to Track the Supply of Cobalt from Congo Using Blockchain

Ford, a U.S. based automaker company and IBM, a U.S. based computer hardware firm are partnering with reputable companies in the tech industry. Their collaboration will lead to a pilot phase of a Blockchain platform that can be used to trace the supply of Cobalt from the Republic of Congo.

Four Companies Partner to Track the Supply Chain of Cobalt

Reuters on January 16 reports that Ford, IBM, LG Chem, and Huayou Cobalt are collaborating to trace the movement of Cobalt along its supply chain. Here, the testing of the platform will aid in the traceability of the mineral resource from Congo to LG Chem’s battery plant in South Korea and finally, Ford’s plant in the U.S.
Based on reports, the need to track the supply chain is to ensure that Cobalt which is used in Lithium-ion batteries found in cars, is not produced by children. This is because consumers and investors mount a lot of pressure on manufacturers to prove that human rights were not abused while the raw materials for their products were sourced.

Blockchain Technology to Aid in Traceability

However, this is usually difficult to clarify due to the complex processes involved in moving these materials across borders. Therefore, the Blockchain is being employed since it is a distributed ledger technology (DLT) whose record of data is visible to validated network participants in real time.
Consequently, the pilot phase which takes advantage of IBM’s blockchain will be overseen by RCS Global, a responsible-sourcing group. This phase will run till the middle of 2019. Here, the cobalt sourced from Huayou’s industrial mine will be packaged and recorded on the Blockchain. Thereafter, its transportation to LG and Ford’s premises will be tracked.

IBM’s Blockchain Gains More Adoption

IBM’s Blockchain has been taken advantage of in the past to bring about accountability and transparency. BTCNN reported a similar event on November 8, where the U.S. company partnered with Seagate, a computer hardware manufacturer to aid in the traceability of hard drives. These are components that will now have unique IDs which have been stored on the Blockchain and will help to combat fakes.
On December 12, the company also partnered with Hello Tractor, a tech startup to add a digital wallet in its mobile application using Blockchain Technology, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things. The aim of the improved application is to bring about data sharing and the tracking of agricultural tractors in Kenya.

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