Clever applications of blockchain technologies have the potential to fundamentally change lives. For instance, , a highly anticipated and fast-growing startup, has developed an intelligent platform that, across a wide variety of features, optimizes the pharmaceutical industry by eliminating threats of fraud. This technology dramatically improves the sector’s existing infrastructure that is in dire need of an update and works with legacy systems. One of the more important aspects of FarmaTrust’s Zoi platform is that they have found a way of working both in the emerging markets of Asia and Africa as well as US and EU.
The pharma-industry is a critical and fast-moving component of the global economy. In the United States alone, the sector is valued at an enormous , responsible for tens of thousands of jobs and billions in corporate-profits. Furthermore, maintaining strong pharmaceutical services for citizens is an essential duty to upholding standards of public healthcare. Clearly, pharma is a keystone element of the modern business ecosystem.
The problem, however, is that the industry suffers greatly from a host of systemic inefficiencies and lack of organizational structure. The space is rampant with criminal activity, resulting in widespread fraud as well as the proliferation of counterfeit drugs. These fake drugs, in particular, result in the deaths of each and every year.
There are also a number of organizational inefficiencies, distributed across numerous manual processes and complex supply chains that contribute to rising consumer prices and reduced enterprise profits. Poorly enforced and relatively stringent regulations contribute to this growing nightmare of operational problems throughout the industry.
It is these challenges, among others, that drove the FarmaTrust team into action. Their aim is to “create a network between the pharmaceutical companies, logistic providers, hospitals, and pharmacies to have an integrated worldwide system so data can be trusted, shared, analysed, thereby saving lives and creating efficiencies.” Effectively, this will bring a heightened level of transparency and accountability to the industry, while raising standards of security and safety.
Their solution, at a high level, relies on a number of advanced machine learning technologies, as well as artificial intelligence, to provide visibility of the pharma-supply-chain to all important stakeholders. They “track pharmaceuticals through a supply chain that links digital systems to pharmaceuticals moving in the physical world. This is important because when you add a unique digital reference to a drug and a physical copy of that drug, it is much harder to erase or duplicate one without the other and therefore enables accurate tracking through the supply chain.” The immutable ledger, enforced by algorithmic-based smart contracts, is inherently more secure than a centralized warehouse.
Their peer-to-peer platform is entirely web-based, meaning that anyone with internet access can abstract value from it. Also, all of the transactional information generated throughout the platform is cryptographically encrypted and intelligently distributed, thereby eliminating the potential for cyber-attack. This brings an unprecedented standard of security to the space.
Importantly, their platform is highly compatible with a number of different legacy systems that are currently in-use around the world. The system can be configured to ensure compliance with international regulations and is thus hardware/software agnostic - capable of being used globally. So not only does FarmaTrust offer a social benefit, they provide a commercial offering to governments, NGOs, and regulators.
Currently, the industry relies upon a number of intermediary parties who employ many manual, pen-and-paper processes to track ownership and authenticate information. FarmaTrust’s platform replaces the need for this dependency through an implementation of a blockchain ledger.
Specifically, they use “a unique ID combined to a digital supply chain, which will reduce or eliminate copies or undocumented drugs getting into the supply system. When you have a unique digital identity and the physical item moving through the supply chain it is easier to spot any potential fakes or compromised items entering the supply chain.”
They will be leveraging an initial coin offering to fund their venture. The FarmaTrust platform uses ‘FTC’ utility tokens that are modeled off of the Ethereum ERC223 token standard. These coins are used to track the various items and drug packets throughout the platform as well as pay for additional tools and services provided. A total of 600 million FTC tokens out of 1 billion in total, will be available for sale. Each FTC creates utility tokens which are required to use the FarmaTrust platform and services.
Per their website, “The Token Distribution Event (‘TDE ’) of FTC tokens and the corresponding token creation process is organized around smart contracts running on Ethereum. Participants willing to support the development of the FarmaTrust platform can do so by sending Ether to the designated address. The supply of FTC tokens is fixed and therefore limited and non-inflationary. It is fractionally divisible. FTC units are fungible and transferable, and we expect to trade on a variety of cryptocurrency exchanges in exchange for Bitcoin, Ethereum and other coins.”
Over time, the FarmaTrust network can become a cornerstone piece of the pharma-industry that validates medicines and other health-related products. This can greatly improve the experience for both consumers and large conglomerates. From ensuring counterfeit drugs are removed from the supply chain to preventing subsidized drugs being sold by corrupt officials, the benefits offered by FarmaTrust will disrupt both the public and private sector.
As blockchain technologies become more accessible, we will likely see new players emerge as leaders in this industry. It will be interesting to see how incumbents prepare for inevitable disruption. We are likely to see acquisitions as well as resource investments made by existing enterprise-powerhouses to keep up with the changing times.