Blockchain based Use Cases for managing Environment, Health and Safety

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In the next five to ten years, it is anticipated block chain will change the business models in all types of industries – all perhaps change including the way people work and live. Blockchain is a database encompassing a physical chain of fixed length blocks that include transactions i.e.,, are open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in verifiable and permanent way.

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The name blockchain originates from the fact that instead of changing the data within the database, new data is just appended to the old one in blocks or batchers. A blockchain is a combination of three components, peer to peer networking, Asymmetric cryptography and cryptographic hashing, which are group of networked computers, way of sending messages and a mechanism to verify the contents of data respectively.  The only two operations that are managed in blockchain are add transaction and view transcations, even triggering the code from the data set is also possible. The ledgers itself can also be programmed to triger transactions autoamtically. The blockchain is a peer to peer program, it ensures that all the peers have the same exact data. If the data changes on one machine, it changes on all the machines. The blockchain has no central authority to manage username and password, so instead it uses cryptography. Each user is able to generate a data access address and a provide code that allows them to unlock the reading the data.

There are many applications of Blockchain when it comes to meeting the Enviornment, Health and Safety requirement. Some of the areas of interest include i) Regulatory management of compositions with regulatory agencies and industry consortia to better manage the payments requirement such as some drafted regulations in EU ii) Management of Hazardous substance waste and Solid waste originating within the organization using a combination of IoT and Blockchain iii) Volume transaction mangement within the organization and outisde industry groups iv) Real time SDS distribution among industry consortia and customer base using blockchain read data options v) REACh Regulation like regulatory management by Regulatory agencies and their registration management and vi) Conflict mineral management for banning sale / purchase of conflict minerals from certain jurisdictions. These are definitely subset of use cases some involving financial transactions and others data movement, there are many use cases which can be worked out. Virtually any data management scenario which is managed at a central level with multiple stakeholders passing information can be modified to work with Blockchain concept. Now lets look into each scenario, how those can be managed with Waste Management as a sample scenario.

There are many ways exist for managing the waste management like Barcode or RFID based tag system which identifies the amount of waste being generated and the need for continuously monitoring disposal quanitiy levels. Once the level is reached waste disposer / transporter picks up the waste and disposes of the waste. During these sequence of steps we need to process the waste disposal conditions like amount of processing money and payment for the services.

The conditions for managing the waste disposal can be declared inside a smart contract which is a computerized algorithm which performs the terms of the contract. Those declarations are created in the form of series of if / else statements. The conditions are intiially verified by both parties by means of oracles. An oracle is an agent that finds and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to be used by smart contracts. Once active the contract automatically calculates the payments that are due for the waste disposed off between the both the parties. System automatically arranges those payments to be made for the wastes disposed off or recyclables being sold off, by means of a software code.

Some of the components of Smart contract involves Ethererum Solidity code which gets executed on the blockchain , smart terms for terms of the disposal management. The term “Ethereum” is used to represent three distinct things, the Ethereum protocol, the Ethereum network created by computers and Ethereum project funding. Ethereum is an equivalent to Bitcoin, for private property, financial assets, legal contracts, supply chains and personal data. Ethereum works by successively executing a series of transactions, each of which is a block code. The code is written in a special language named Solidity. Details about how to install Ethereum / Mist / Etherscan, terminology around Mining, Consensus protocol, Distributed P2P network, Hash cryptography and Immutable ledger along with concept of Byzantine Fault Tolerence for distributed network etc., can be found in literature.

As and when smart contract gets executed it automatically executes between the partners for different terms and waste is management automatically without any intervention. Details about the smart contract in blockchain itself is a big topic and details can be found in literature.

As highlighted above, besides the waste management scenario using the token methods conflict minerals can be management so is the automatic distribution of document of information on Safety Data sheet within the stakeholders with out any manual emails outside the system. Intitially a group of documents are validated and released to the blocks and it distrbutes information once key is submitted by the recipient. Finally to conclude there are many challenges to the operation of smart contracts / tokens like performance, interoperability and scalability including issues around risk management and regulatory & legal terms, however the scope of this technology along with Internet of Things is highly promising with lots of potential for automated systems in years to come.

Thanks – Jak

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