Blockchain-Based QA: The End of Fake Products in E-Commerce?

Alibaba’s international platform Tmall Global finds an innovative new application for blockchain to guarantee product quality

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Traceability for TMG: The Basics

There are certain requirements for establishing a goods tracing system that blockchain technology helps solve:

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Traceability for TMG involves the cooperation of the manufacturer, overseas quality control organization, logistics partners and consumers

What Exactly is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain technology, also known as distributed ledger technology, is decentralized in nature and originated from the development of Bitcoin. The main characteristics of blockchains for use in this kind of tracing system include:

Types of blockchains

Generally, there are three different types of blockchain:

Blockchain Building Blocks

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Flow chart showing all stages of the goods tracing system and how they are interlinked

Information quality is key

The main aim of Traceability for TMG is the successful application of blockchain technology in supply chain traceability, making the entire workflow open, transparent, and trustworthy.

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Chart showing all the types of information that are incorporated into the goods tracing system
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Illustration of the blockchain data storage scheme

Layer by Layer

Tmall Global has constructed a fully traceable system to link the supply chain to complete the whole tracing procedure.

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Breakdown of Tmall Global’s three-layer tracing system design

Bottom layer as a data model

Base model: This systematic data design includes the products model, manufacturers model, sellers model, statistic and so on, to provide data support using data from commodity centers and ODPS ladder statistics, which is partly input by the sellers.

Middle layer as a business layer

Business plan: This is the most important capability construction, and includes several parts. Category access rules determine which goods require tracing and which do not. The whitelist is used on certain goods or upon certain special conditions from the sellers to skip the tracing settings. The strategic decision engine is responsible for determining which categories of sampling the goods have to go through from the four categories. For instance, from the aspect of the goods, factory evaluation regulation requires that an evaluation is needed if no evaluation reports are found or the reports have expired.

Top layer as an interactive layer

WEB Service: This includes platforms on which basic tracing information can be entered, and a product tracing platform configured by Tmall’s vendor management system. Sellers can obtain product information including barcode, place of origin, factory photos, product material lists and factory certification. This is useful both for product inspection purposes, and for providing reliable product traceability to consumers.

Scanning the QR Code

As Double 11 officially goes online, consumers can receive products labelled with the Tmall Global Anti-Counterfeit QR Code.

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The Tmall Global Anti-Counterfeit QR Code
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Checking a product’s basic information

Looking Ahead

Thanks to the effort and support from numerous countries and organizations, Traceability for TMG is fundamentally changing the way that users are interacting with international sellers and goods.

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