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Blockchain in the Supply Chain: Applications, Benefits, and Prospects Going Forward

  • Vera Thornpike
    📚 WikiCoin

    The applications of Blockchain extend well beyond cryptocurrency. Find out how blockchain is integrated in supply chain management: benefits, use cases, early adopters.


Blockchain in the Supply Chain: Applications, Benefits, and Prospects Going Forward
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Today, management of the supply chain is a very challenging task: depending on the companies and products handled, the chain can include over 100 stages, numerous geographical spots, a lot of payments and invoices, as well as hundreds of people involved. The whole process of a product going through a supply chain can last for months. The logistics industry lacks transparency and efficiency, and this is where blockchain comes in handy. How does it change the rules of the game, and will blockchain replace the current state of things?

What is a supply chain?

To put it simply, a supply chain is a network of all organizations, specialists, resources, and activities involved in the process of production and sale of a product. Logistics is only a part of this complex network. Supply chain management is the control over the flow of services and goods from the moment of handling raw materials and to the point of selling and consumption. Smart execution of supply chain management can:

  • boost sales and increase revenues;

  • optimize expenses;


  • improve quality;

  • contribute to production, distribution, and sales.

Of course, the supply chain sphere is not devoid of drawbacks:

Supply chain industry has a lot of problems to deal with
Main weak points of supply chain industry

A few decades ago, control over logistics was way easier due to the fact that all products were traded locally. Today, companies go international, so managing transportation, production and communication has become challenging.

What’s the role of blockchain in it?

Although blockchain is mostly known to drive cryptocurrency, this technology has a lot of spheres of application. A distributed ledger can be efficiently used in contracts and agreements, exchange, payments, tracking, and so son. Every transaction stays recorded in a block over multiple copies of the ledger and distributed over numerous computers, or nodes. The data stays totally transparent, and storage is secure because blocks are linked to one another. There is no central authority, and blockchain is very flexible. It can boost the efficiency of the supply chain and make it more scalable. Besides, a blockchain may have a chain of commands built in.

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Still not clear? Let’s consider the following example:

“Let’s say you visit a pharmacy and need to buy rare expensive medicine. When checking out the package, you see “Store the drug in a dry cold place below 15 °C, failure to do so will make the product not fit to use.” Okay, the pharmacist took care of it, but how do you know that the same conditions were met during transportation and that the distributor was careful about it, too? You don’t know whether you can trust and buy the product. What if the drug has lost its properties because of mishandling?

In such cases, blockchain could be of much help. There might be a microchip sensor (IOT chip) in the package of medication to keep track of the conditions right from the moment of dispatch from the factory, and to the moment you take it in your hands. This data is regularly renewed and submitted to the blockchain ledger.

You can simply use your smartphone to check out the details and verify the drug was stored in a proper environment. With the help of IOT coupled with the blockchain, you don’t have to rely on the pharmacist and distributors only – all essential information is at your fingertips.

Application of blockchain in supply chain and logistics
Blockchain can be applied at any stage of the supply chain

Other examples include blockchain being integrated into the diamond trading sphere (chips are attached to diamonds to prove their history and origin) and food supply chain (here, blockchain proves that products are fresh and stored in compliance with standards).

Therefore, blockchain proves to be useful at all stages of supply chain management.

Problems of SCM addressed by blockchain

When it comes to supply chains, blockchain brings about a lot of benefits. It solves all major problems in the following ways:

  1. It enables direct communication without a myriad of third parties. All relationships can be managed in a complex ecosystem.

  2. Blockchain makes data and interaction totally transparent. The problem of trust to third parties is solved.

  3. This is a move to digitalization, which means a lot of questions can be solved without personal meetings.

  4. Blockchain is the key to data decentralization and integrity.

  5. Blockchain plays the role of data repository with real-time synchronization among all nodes involved.

  6. The risk of fraud and counterfeits is significantly reduced.

  7. Blockchain allows cutting on auditing costs.

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Benefits of blockchain in supply chain management

As you can see, blockchain is a perfect replacement to banks, messengers, business management software, and logistics solutions. This is a versatile technology that renders the whole gamut of advantages:

  • Dynamic changes and compliance with ever-changing demands and rules.

  • Digitization of the supply chain ecosystem. The technology-focused approach reduces operational time and the risk of human mistakes.

  • Stronger, more efficient collaboration between all participants of the supply chain network.

  • Security, integrity, and reliability of data.

Therefore, a distributed ledger automates processes across the entire chain, and optimizes time and expenses. As a result, participants enjoy an accelerated delivery process and streamlined flow of services and goods.

Benefits of blockchain in supply chain
Key benefits of blockchain in supply chain network

SCM projects that use blockchain

Blockchain is being slowly integrated into the infrastructure of both new ICOs and old, well-established companies. Let’s find out who is among the first to reap its benefits.

In the food industry, Walmart was one of the pioneers: it uses blockchain to track the pork pieces that it exports from China. Blockchain shows where the meat came from when it was processed and stored. Nestle, Unilever, Dole and Tyson jumped on the train to use blockchain for the same task.

De Beers, a diamond trading company, uses blockchain to track the stones from the moment they’re found to the moment they’re sold to buyers. That helps trader to avoid conflicts and guarantees customers they purchase genuine stones.

Tomcar, an Australian vehicle producer, pays its suppliers in Bitcoin. Therefore, it avoids paying extra taxes, dealing with traditional banks, and waiting for eternity to have payments processed. Blockchain does this job for them.

Other projects using blockchain for supply chain management are:

  • Blockshipping;

  • DAV network;

  • Modum;

  • Cloud Logistics;

  • VeChain;

  • Ambrosus;

  • WaBi;

  • Provenance.

Bottom Line

Supply chain management has grown into an enormous global system that includes a lot of manufacturers, distribution patterns, contracts, relationships, and organizations. Add to that a short product life cycle, globalization, and rising demands, and you will realize that the SCM sphere is in dire need of improvements. With blockchain, we can create the most dynamic and flexible supply chain ecosystem possible. It will improve the quality of the services and data involved.

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Blockchain Developer Salaries. Top Job Offers of Blockchain Companies

  • Eric Croix
    📚 WikiCoin

     

    Are you fascinated by Bitcoin and Ethereum? Would you like to take part in the development of Web 3.0 and the payment systems of the future? Then you may also be wondering how much you will be paid for such work. Tune in to find this out!


Blockchain Developer Salaries. Top Job Offers of Blockchain Companies
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The blockchain sphere was sort of under the radar since the introduction of Bitcoin until finally Ethereum’s ERC20 standard appeared and gave birth to thousands of startups in 2017. The ICO craze led to a notorious crypto bubble, which drove up the demand for quality developers. Innovative technology, low competition, and startling salaries attracted many of the engineers from other spheres to the blockchain space. As they were building new networks and dApps, the infamous crypto burst of 2018 occurred and some of the companies started to rapidly lose the funds they raised.

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After the dust settled, the surviving startups realized that the only competitive advantage they can have in the future is only a real working product. The times when people paid millions of dollars just for a white paper are gone. Hence, to make it through hard times and eventually prosper, crypto companies need experienced engineers even more. In addition, large enterprises like IBM and Google realized the new trend and are now making the competition even tighter. Unlike the freshly appeared startups, these behemoths have plenty of cash in their pockets to pay a premium for good specialists.

Considering that the blockchain sphere is still in its infancy and there is enough room to grow professionally and financially, engineers around the world are still looking into entering the space. There are also people who never touched a terminal but were attracted to the crypto market during the latest bull cycle and want to start their professional paths within the industry. For all of them, it will be useful to know the size of a paycheck to aim for. Therefore, in this article, we will present you with an overview of the job market for blockchain engineers. Let’s get going!

Where to look for a job?

Traditional job listing boards

Traditional aggregators

For our first step, we took the most popular website for job search overall, which is Indeed.com and also a resource that is used by startups to post their listings – AngelList. We also included LinkedIn, as it’s by far the most used social network for professionals. The blockchain-related openings on these resources soared significantly (in some cases more than 4 times) from 2016.

Specialized aggregators

Specialized aggregators

The new industry inspired a new type of job board. Currently, there are several crypto-oriented resources where one is able to find a job in a crypto startup. Among such service providers are Blocktribe, Cryptojobslist, Blockace and a number of others.

Upwork

Upwork logo

For people, who are familiar with working remotely, Upwork is the go-to resource to find clientele. This is the most popular freelance website in the world and the paychecks there can be astonishing.

Company websites

IBM/VISA/Google logos

Some of the job postings for large (and some small) companies never leave company websites. Recruiters may be in a passive mode of searching for some positions, so it’s always useful to double check the ‘career’ section on websites.

How big of a paycheck to expect

Blockchain developers make 10 to 20% more than their non-blockchain peers. This is on par with AI software developers. For instance, if we talk about the most prominent place for software companies, Silicon Valley, a blockchain engineer’s salary there may reach $158k USD a year, while a hardware engineer’s salary will only be $135k USD. Switzerland companies in some cases offer even higher salaries that may go up to $180k USD a year, but you have to consider that the taxes and prices there are quite high too.

Median salaries

If we review the market as a whole, the average salary for software engineers specializing in blockchain is $114k USD. The range of salaries goes between $50k and $134k USD a year for a full-time job. For freelancers, the hourly rates start from $15 and continue up to $300 USD.

As we discussed in our article about the most popular languages in blockchain development, there are new ones like Solidity and Simplicity that are just starting to get traction. Enterprises with their products are also more inclined to pay higher amounts of money to those, who already have narrow specialization, such as Hyperledger composers.

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Enterprises vs startups

It’s important to distinguish between young companies and well-developed enterprises. Startups are looking to recruit the best professionals out there as they influence the company’s image. People heading there will receive more responsibility, freedom of making decisions and room for professional growth. On the flipside, the salary range is in the lower bracket of $50k to $70k USD. However, in the long run, financial rewards can be much higher for some devs, as they may be offered equity in the company or certain allocation of tokens that have a chance to skyrocket.

Startup vs Enterprise

For those, who are looking for more secure positions, enterprises represent a better choice. Starting salaries for junior developers can be from $70k to $80k USD and senior devs usually start getting from $100k to $120k USD. The drawbacks could include a limited set of tasks, the need to report more to seniors and not so many promotion prospects. In addition, enterprises will be able to provide better social compensation and benefits.

Top offers

  • Senior Managing Consultant at IBM ($122k-$179k USD/year)

IBM is one of the leaders in software development with a great legacy of hardware development. With Hyperledger and Sawtooth, IBM strives to capture a significant share of the developing blockchain market. The position they offer pays well and requires an appropriate level of experience, at least 5 years of programming and half a year in blockchain development.

  • Blockchain SI Partner Development Manager at Microsoft ($109k-$172k USD/year)

Considering the size of Microsoft and their involvement in cloud and blockchain solutions based on their Azure platform, there is no wonder that it makes it to the top of our list. Except for advanced programming skills and knowledge of the proprietary software, this job will require the perfect candidate to have a background in business communication and management experience.

  • Blockchain Engineer at Visa ($110-$140k USD/year)

Visa, like any global payment system, feels the competition from cryptocurrencies the most and tries to get the best talent to evolve quickly. A developer joining this company should consider making an emphasis on Java and Golang, as Visa requires two-year experience with these languages. Expertise in other spheres of software development will also be a plus along with specialization in scalable products.

  • Blockchain Developer at Blocksmith ($45k-$65k USD/year)

Here we step onto the startup grounds. Blockchain offers outsourcing services related to the blockchain to other startups and enterprises. In their job posing, Blocksmith highlight willingness to learn and share knowledge as the core requirements. Unlike enterprises like Visa and IBM, they value personality more than tech expertise. In addition, the person who gets hired will be eligible for equity share after working within the company for more than 6 months.

  • Senior C++ Blockchain Developer at Atlas City ($90k USD/year)

Atlas City is another startup that is focused on helping other businesses to cut costs and boost efficiency. The team looks for a person with decent knowledge of blockchains, which is apparent by the requirement of knowing C++, a language Bitcoin was built with. Among other requirements worth considering is the knowledge of Linux and back-end scripting. The salary for a startup is rather high and there is a neat bonus of being eligible equity.

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The bottom line

To sum up, the blockchain sphere with its incredible volatility and instability is still a technical environment that is set to disrupt our world and transform it completely. Despite rallies and crashes on the market, the business side of blockchain has been rumbling since its inception.

This field is definitely challenging because there are many undiscovered territories, and the infrastructure is not always clear. However, anyone with exceptional ambitions and libertarian views will feel comfortable in the epicenter of the blockchain development buzz. Thankfully, at this point in time, there is no shortage of opportunities, and the level of experience varies greatly from company to company. In some cases, personality comes before knowledge. If you feel uncomfortable working at the office, you will be glad to find out that there are not only many freelance opportunities but also remote offerings from startups and enterprises.

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When it comes to payment, like in any workplace it will depend on a number of variables. First and foremost, you will have to choose between working in a recently initiated startup or an enterprise with a long history of operation. Second, your development experience along with the knowledge of specific languages will play an important role. Third, if you want to get a higher position, be prepared to learn or prove some managerial skills. Finally, your personality and willingness to learn new things in such a fast-paced environment will also be evaluated by hiring parties. In any case, you can safely consider that your payroll will be a little bit higher than the average for developers in other fields. After all, the demand for the workforce in the blockchain is high and the supply is low – it’s time to ride this wave!

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