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Near Protocol Blockchain: Deploying Case to Address Supply Chain Problems in Nigeria.

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Introduction

The supply chain plays a crucial role in modern businesses by allowing them to achieve efficiency, responsiveness, and success.

Over the past several decades, the scale of businesses has expanded, the number of geographic locales involved in the production process has grown and product portfolios have diversified. As a result, the supply chain has grown from a traditional network of manufacturers and suppliers to a vast ecosystem made of various products that move through multiple parties and require cooperation among stakeholders. 

Additionally, due to the rapid evolution of e-commerce, the demand for improved product visibility and source-to-store traceability has never been higher. However, the inefficiency of data sharing in current supply chain networks has dramatically impacted the operations of retailers and manufacturers. For example, information gaps between data collected by factories and by retailers make it challenging to trace product history and offer customized products.

To overcome these challenges and improve supply chain performance, industries have explored innovative technologies that support efficient collaboration and coordination within and among different organizations.

Among these technologies, the NEAR Protocol blockchain provides a promising future and allows the supply chain to provide better visibility, transparency, and security for transactions throughout the entire process.

Supply chain

Read Also: Near Protocol: Empowering Nigerian Business Owners

The supply chain encompasses the end-to-end flow, including the physical and correlated data flow of raw material, products, information, and money. It plays a unique and critical role in businesses and determines the performance of organizations. 

Supply chain involves sourcing, procurement, manufacturing, distribution, and logistics, thus, affecting speed to market, the cost of a product, service perception, and capital requirements in businesses. The supply chain combines a set of fragmented and often geographically discrete processes into a cohesive system to deliver value to the customer.

Problems with Today’s Supply Chain

Evolving customer requirements, challenges from competition, centralized nature with separate operations, and the adoption of new business models (such as e-commerce) make the current supply chain a highly complex system.

Over the past decade, e-commerce and hand-held digital devices have substantially changed the daily lives of people, especially in the ways they shop. There is an ever-increasing demand for customized products, a simplified and efficient shopping experience, and transparency about the value and provenance of goods. 

All these needs bring new opportunities to businesses but impose significant challenges to current supply chains. These outdated supply chains struggle to improve demand management, to provide data visibility for the entire flow, or to track goods from raw material to end consumers.

Furthermore, the old technology of today’s supply chain fails to provide adequate risk management, reduce costs, or meet rapidly changing market requirements. Here below, are some challenges in current supply chains:

  • Lack of traceability
  • Stakeholders distrust
  • Limited transparency
  • Outdated means of data sharing
  • Compliance challenges

Existing Blockchains Platforms, Applications, and Challenges

Blockchain, as a unique database system that is created, replicated, synchronized, and maintained by all participants in the decentralized network, operates in a decentralized peer to peer network to validate and store all transactions in a consensus, that is agreed upon by all nodes in the network, without any central authority to validate the transaction (as an intermediary). There are many blockchain platforms, with different consensus, algorithms, development tools, and programming languages. They include; 

  • Bitcoin
  • Ethereum
  • Hyperledger fabric
  • Skuchain
  • Sweetbridge
  • Zero Network
  • IOTA
  • NEAR Protocol.

All of the above eliminates the aforementioned problems in today’s supply chain. The listed following are some of their benefits;

  • Advanced traceability
  • Improved transparency
  • Boosted efficiency
  • Greater security
  • Enhanced trust
  • Easy compliance

Some blockchains face challenges which are needed to be unveiled and addressed before the full potential can be realized. The following challenges include;

  • Throughput and performance: Due to its decentralized architecture, each transaction is approved by all or a majority of nodes in a blockchain network. This approval process limits the throughput of a blockchain network; for example, Bitcoin, a public blockchain, can only process from 3 to 30 transactions per second. However, a private blockchain-based supply chain network must process far more transactions, possibly thousands per second, for the entire system. Thus, it is imperative to improve the transaction capacity of blockchain technology for full scalability
  • Standardization: Is a critical concern for the adoption of blockchain technology in the supply chain. In essence, this technology offers a ubiquitous and general-purpose platform for digital data sharing and permanent storage. Interestingly, a major question remains; what content and format should be adopted for transactional data that facilitates interpretation by all participants? A data standard must be established and agreed upon by the entire supply chain community. However, there is no existing standard that can be adapted for this purpose.
  • Data privacy: The immutability and transparency of blockchain technology raise a concern with data privacy when deployed for supply chains. Once data is stored, it cannot be changed, and thus, a reliable mechanism that protects users’ privacy must be designed. The task of balancing an individual’s right to privacy in an open blockchain network is very challenging.

NEAR Protocol and its benefits (Alleviating the Problems)

NEAR Protocol has the best system and organizational design which is relevant to users to overcome usability and scalability. With these aspects, data sharing and storage could be achieved easier with the help of the NEAR Protocol. 

And it’s being built under blockchain technology makes it more transparent and decentralized with no involvement of intermediate third parties, this could also alleviate more cost in the supply chain. Near made it possible for everyone to participate in a transparent and trustless way in the supply chain. For effective services and distribution of goods and services.

NEAR Protocol functions on a thresholded proof-of-stake (TPOS) in this system, the idea is that a predetermined way to create a large number of participants maintaining the network will increase decentralization and security and create a fair reward distribution system. NEAR is beneficial to humankind, its emblement community-driven innovation to benefit people around the world.

The sweet benefit about NEAR; allowing stardust to scale to millions of users without having to worry about infrastructure limitations or cost. You might be wondering why NEAR stardust is this beneficial, but the fact is that without it, the business model can’t work with good yield. 

NEAR has brought about an open web that allows blockchain technology to finally realize its full potential to change the way the web operates. Also, as a brand new public, proof-of-stake blockchain, which is built using a novel consensus mechanism called doomslug, it provides decentralized storage and computes data that is secure enough to manage high-value assets like money or identity and performance enough to make them useful for everybody.

CONCLUSION

In a nutshell, NEAR is the next-generation proof-of-stake blockchain protocol that is deeply practical in its approach and offers scalability and low cost of operation. The founders of NEAR have refused the idea of using centralized high-end software for powering the transactions. Instead, they introduced the sharding algorithm called “Nightshade” for the segmentation of transaction computation load and maintenance of full decentralization. 

The plans of NEAR are nothing less than transforming the modern internet and giving power over user data and resources to end-users. The founders of NEAR are dedicated to the overall philosophy of blockchain, that is, user control and privacy so that no large corporation can elicit or manipulate user data and people don’t lose their businesses or private data in cases of the centralized body or government interfering.

Written by NEAR PROTOCOL NIGERIA (NPK GUILD)

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