Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), when beginning to emerge from the market as viable and reliable sources of goods and services, tend to all follow the same pattern. They try to scale up their businesses on all sides at once, beefing up procurement, manufacturing, and logistics alike, but then struggle, at least on an initial basis, to maintain the flow of business as well as they did before. On the business side, this is seen with difficulties in managing client systems, web servers, deliveries, and price renegotiations; on the consumer side, it results in higher prices, longer wait times, and a slight reduction in good quality customer service.
This is a natural byproduct of ‘biting off more than you can chew’, and, unfortunately, the vast (80%) of SMEs never recover from the process of scaling up from a small project to a larger enterprise, and only a third of startups make it to their tenth anniversary. The reasons for this are myriad and complex, usually stemming from the losses accrued by the unlimited amounts of money and time a business could sink into making their small-scale supply-chain system work on a larger and more complex scale. In essence, it is tricky at best, damaging at worst, and likely to put the company out of business.
LINFINITY DApp Introduces Blockchain to SMEs Whilst Maintaining Business Flow
“SMEs still have a long way to go to crack down on fake goods under the framework of traditional supply chains. They have to face not only the overwhelming problem of fake goods, but also the crisis of trust caused by purchased fake goods.”
—LINFINITY CEO Anndy Lian, Singapore Shin Min Daily News, December 18, 2018
LINFINITY aims to improve and streamline the supply chain of SMEs in particular, but paying particular attention to detail regarding the safety, privacy, security, and transparency of company business. The loss, corruption, theft, or mismanagement of data, especially in an SME that is looking to expand in all directions, is perhaps the biggest potential pitfall when migrating client data, reorganising logistics, or ensuring that every commodity produced is legitimate and not under threat of being counterfeited.
To do this, the LINFINITY team have developed DApp, which exclusively runs on blockchain technologies to allow SMEs to add any data which needs to be securely protected against potential threats to an encrypted, accessible system. Its backend code runs on a decentralised peer-to-peer basis, which departs from the traditional supply-chain methods of either storing data on paper, which is prone to loss or adaptation at any time, or on centralised servers, which are vulnerable to both internal company threats and external hacking threats. In addition, DApp works as a consumer-end platform which allows customers to check whether a particular item is a legitimately-produced product or a counterfeit. To do this, DApp accesses a secured copy of a ledger of all items or services tagged by a particular business, and checks them alongside the product or service that is scanned via QR code by the consumer. This allows for complete peace of mind for a consumer, as they know that their chosen product is either verified as legitimate or flagged as fake, and gives companies the peace of mind to know where and when every single product or service of theirs is distributed and sold.
SMEs Benefit the Most from Combining Blockchain with Traditional Supply-Chain Methods
(LINFFINITY DApp beta 1.0 customized for Herbriller)
Given the reliable nature of blockchain’s security architecture, which uses asymmetric cryptography to ensure that every piece of information has been uploaded to the chain by the correct source, and that every piece of data in the chain is only visible to people with the right authorisation – through a series of public and private keys that exclusively encrypt and decrypt the information they are designed to deal with and no more – this allows for the messy business of migrating data, keeping track of products, and maintaining an up-to-date client and orders database to be kept as streamlined and secured as possible. Traditional supply-chains will always end up losing data in migration – sometimes harmlessly, but mostly in damaging ways which could allow for sensitive data to become public or product information to be leaked to counterfeiters. DApp is specifically designed to deal with that for SMEs in particular, which is what makes it such a uniquely qualified product for emerging businesses in almost any sector which requires the storage and accessing of sensitive information. DApp, then, allows for the maintaining of flow in businesses looking to expand operations in all areas, with only the most minor of updates to internal systems. Through DApp, tagging the items that need tagging, uploading only the business/product/client information that needs uploading, ensuring that only people with the correct credentials are issued the keys they need for their specific areas, and allowing customers to access the entire product system (on a read-only basis) and their account information (on a secure line), most of the security and transparency issues resulting from company expansion completely evaporates – leaving your SME to be far more likely to be one of the 20% to succeed.
Quick off the Mark
However, LINFINITY does recognise that it is the integration of blockchain with traditional supply-chain methods that will lead to greater adoption. At the Future Blockchain Forum 2018, held on December 16th in Seoul, South Korea, CEO Anndy Lian emphasised: “I have seen a great number of innovative projects crop up in the industry from time to time, but they’re all still stuck in their pilot phase… [however] ‘blockchainisation’ of various industries is not a necessarily holistic approach. ‘Blockchain Reform’ here, however, provides a potential solution, and one that LINFINITY has adopted since its inception: by combining blockchain technology with traditional entities as a market strategy – first by building a complete business ecosystem from the enterprise end, and secondly by conducting staged blockchain commercialisation from the top to the bottom.”
In addition, on December 18th this year, the Singapore Shin Min Daily News published a special report on LINFINITY’s efforts to streamline the process of co-chaining: that is, the addition of product, client and consumer data to a decentralised, transparent, and highly secured network, specifically aimed at SMEs – entitled: “Information On-chaining is Not Complicated for SMEs”. “The flexibility and resilience of SMEs will make them the first beneficiaries of blockchain commercialisation,” Mr. Lian states. It is this key belief that underpins the whole of what LINFINITY stands for – and they have been extremely active this year in expanding the market for SMEs.
(LINFINITY CEO Anndy Lian at BlockSpace Asia 2018)
As early as July, LINFINITY launched the Singapore SMEs blockchain special conference, 2018 Blockspace Asia, and teamed up with Singapore’s government agency Enterprise Singapore to provide technical support for the blockchain transformation of SMEs. “The commercialisation of blockchain cannot be achieved by the business community alone. We need to work together with governmental and international forces,” added Mr. Lian. As a member of the Gyeongsangbuk-do Blockchain Special Committee in South Korea, the LINFINITY CEO will collaborate with senior project sponsors, founders and leaders of blockchain industries.
Towards Infinite Possibilities
The clear success for DApp as LINFINITY’s cornerstone product signifies an important step towards blockchain commercialisation.
In DApp version 1.0, LINFINITY built a decentralised information management system for Scientific Tradition, a highly successful Lingzhi healthcare brand. DApp automatically recognises and divides uploaded product information into three parts: static (product name), dynamic (production date, batch number) and visual (product image/video), storing them in an InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) database. All product information is uploaded to the LINFINITY sub-chain, generating a unique QR code for each stored item. Customers can then use DApp to scan the QR code on the product for detailed information and to ensure authenticity.
(Herbriller hair care products)
After this success, LINFINITY has conducted informational on-chaining services for the Japanese haircare brand Herbriller with their latest versopm of DApp. Further blockchain-based anti-counterfeiting and traceability support is to be developed further during the next stages of their partnership. The great bonus is that Herbriller’s series of products have been introduced through this partnership to mainland China, which has naturally given Chinese consumers a clearer look at the world of premium haircare products and promoted Herbriller as the best in the business.
LINFINITY’s presence, both at conferences and in the media, has been especially prolific as a result.
Looking forward, to expanding DApp’s operations into Europe, August 30th this year saw LINFINITY hold its first roundtable conference in London’s financial centre, after a number of successful talks in Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Thailand. Armed with their holistic, combined-approach to rejuvenating SME supply chains, the newly-incepted LINFINITY Forum allowed the business to explore their reasoning behind helping UK-based SMEs through information co-chaining.
If LINFINITY can successfully work with SMEs across both Asia and Europe, whilst making DApp into a system of near-perfect security, reliability and transparency, whilst combining with traditional supply-chain methods to ensure the maintenance of company flow, then blockchain will surely move towards, as said by LINFINITY since its inception, “towards infinite possibilities”.
For more information about LINFINITY and their future activities, please visit www.linfinity.io or contact [email protected]
Anndy Lian is an inter-governmental blockchain advisor with more than 15 years of experience in Asia. He has provided advisory across a variety of industries for local, international and public listed companies.