Double 11: The best training ground for e-commerce giants' blockchain traceability

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Double 11 has become the best training ground for blockchain technology.

During the 11.11 period, the Jingdong Digital Blockchain team set up a daily inspection mechanism, and the team responded to online questions in real time 24 hours. Every day, the main person in charge of the blockchain department will receive the data daily report of the “anti-counterfeiting traceability platform”, confirm the normality of the system through the data verified by the consumer traceability source, and check the health status of each service in the background.

On October 21, Suning said at the double 11 conference that the “blockchain traceability” anti-counterfeiting technology will cover more than 50% of Suning's overseas purchases, and users can track the entire link information in real time. In order to support a large number of visits during the double eleventh period, the platform has been expanded and pressure tested.

During the double 11 period this year, the ant blockchain will be fully applied to the tracing of Tmall Haitao products, involving 400 million items of 140,000 categories, covering 2.7 times the scale of last year.

The traceability of the blockchain records the discrete data across the main body in the form of a blockchain, and forms a coalition chain to transmit information and improve the efficiency of collaboration.

The application of this scenario is still in the initial stage of the initial stage. There are not many enterprises that are willing to deploy the full number of nodes in the alliance chain. The average daily scan volume of consumers is not high, and more policy support and voluntary resources investment.

To be commercial, you have to seize the biggest demand of the market.

First, a natural opportunity

The blockchain fits naturally with the source of the product.

From the perspective of technology, the blockchain technology fusion consensus mechanism, distributed data storage, point-to-point transmission and cryptographic algorithms are naturally applicable to end-to-end information management in the retail supply chain.

From the demand, the proliferation of fakes, poisonous milk powder and other incidents frequently occur, consumers have high demand for anti-counterfeiting of food, maternal and child, alcohol, cross-border products and other products.

In addition, the regulatory authorities are required to promote the construction of important product traceability systems.

In 2015, Ant Jinfu formed an internal interest group. In the second year, the team participated in the company's internal hackathon challenge and implemented a proof of concept (POC) of a blockchain charity tracking application within 48 hours.

In June 2016, at the weekly meeting, Hu Danqing, senior product manager of the ant Jinfu blockchain, who was working in the strategy department, discussed the technology trend with the technical department. The two sides agreed to focus on the blockchain and hit it off. At the end of 2016, the Ant Financial Blockchain team was established.

In February 2017, former Vice President of Japan Electric (NEC) Jiang Guofei joined ant Jinfu as vice president and established a technical laboratory. The blockchain team joined the “Ant Jinfu Technology Lab” system focusing on cutting-edge technology research.

The journey back to the blockchain in Jingdong District began in October 2016.

At that time, foreign technology companies were actively exploring the application of blockchain technology in the supply chain. After learning about the above developments, Jingdong initiated a blockchain interest group. Zhang Zuoyi, the product manager of the original supply chain logistics, first joined. The leader of the blockchain in Jingdong District was also in the supply chain IT service department, he and the technical director. Sun Haibo also joined.

At the time, there was no consensus in the industry for enterprise-level applications of the blockchain. After dozens of days of research and discussion, the team has reinstated numerous times, and finally decided that the first application of the blockchain in supply chain management is the traceability of goods. The reason is that Jingdong is good at providing the supply chain infrastructure for partners. Service, product traceability is a very basic service in the digital supply chain era.

In 2017, the Jingdong team made the first POC case – the traceability of Horqin beef, which can be traced back to the specific processing and timing of beef on the H5 page.

After the completion of the POC, the team decided to name the platform "blockchain anti-counterfeiting traceability platform", carrying two important functions of "authentic e-commerce" and "quality traceability".

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

Suning’s first blockchain traceable commodity is also beef.

At the beginning of 2018, there were consumer feedback to buy an imported high-end fresh beef at Suning Plaza. I wanted to know the origin and variety of beef, but there was no channel.

When Shao Junbao, product director of Suning Supply Chain R&D Center received the demand, he remembered an internal technical exchange meeting. The technicians mentioned the blockchain technology, which can solve the problem of beef traceability.

After consulting a large number of relevant research materials, he is more convinced that the blockchain traceability is feasible.

However, when Shao Junbao proposed the traceability of blockchain goods, waiting for him was a series of questions from technology and operation.

The dissent of the technician is that it is very simple to dispel the consumer's concerns about the beef. The system can be used to obtain the corresponding traceability information, and the cost of using the blockchain technology is high.

Operators are also concerned that the technical capabilities of participating institutions such as the brand side are insufficient.

(Shen Jun, Supply Chain Product Director, Suning)

"If you don't use blockchain, an institution unilaterally fakes, and the cost of information traceability is high." Shao Junbao wants traceability information that is authentic and reliable.

After discussion, the team finally agreed to his decision.

Second, the first taste of sweetness

The greatest value of blockchain anti-counterfeiting traceability is to promote the digital management of goods in all aspects of the supply chain, integrate the information of the entire chain of goods, and improve the efficiency of collaboration.

However, as the above question, without a blockchain, you can't trace the source of goods? The three home appliance giants found the answers in their respective cases.

Wyeth is the first cooperative brand of the blockchain maternal and baby category in Jingdong District. In the first half of 2017, Liu Sizhen, head of blockchain product operation in Jingdong District, and Wyeth sales staff talked about the function of “blockchain anti-counterfeiting traceability platform”, and the latter expressed great interest.

Wyeth has a retrospective system that has been used for more than ten years. Each can of milk powder has its own two-dimensional code. After scanning the code, consumers can view basic information such as production date, shelf life, and entry and exit.

But this system serves the Wyeth system and needs to be connected with retail partners downstream of the supply chain. How can the data flow with the circulation of goods?

How to make data flow with goods? Blockchain technology just happens to solve this problem. Its distributed storage, consensus mechanism, non-tamperable, traceability, encryption security and other characteristics, naturally suitable for multi-agent information sharing in the alliance chain.

Wyeth and JD Blockchain team hit it off, and Wyeth's cooperation not only retains Wyeth's very mature traceability system and QR code, but also establishes a docking with the "Jingdong blockchain traceability platform" and the supply chain data of both parties. After the connection, it was recorded in the blockchain of Jingdong District.

Liu Wenzhao, head of the blockchain product application department of Jingdong District, told Zinc Link that Wyeth's original traceability business system does not need to be changed much. By interfacing with the alliance chain nodes through API or interface, data can be chained, shared and read.

Ji Qin, the supply chain manager of Wyeth Group, recalled that at the end of 2018, Wyeth's S-26 series of milk powder was revised and the page design was revised. The Jingdong special team coordinated the adjustment, and the page was revised in two weeks, and the technology research and development was completed in one month.

After the revision, the scanning rate of this milk powder rose very fast, from 2% to 8%.

Shao Junbao's team also quickly tasted the sweetness of the blockchain traceability.

When the first batch of blockchain traceable beef entered the Suning Plaza store in Xinjiekou, Nanjing, Shao Junbao and his colleagues were hiding in a corner, conducting real-time offline tracking and researching traceability.

After seeing the consumer scan the source code, they went over to interview. Most of the consumers who received positive positive feedback, Shao Junbao felt that what he was doing was worthwhile, and the team also took a reassurance.

Not only that, the blockchain traceability can significantly improve order conversion rate, product repurchase rate, and consumer satisfaction.

What surprised Shao Junbao is that the beef has been on the line for just a few months, and the sales volume has increased by more than 70 times. The brand is very satisfied. The team also designed a feedback on the traceability page, where customers can write down comments on the product, which can be fed back to the brand and store to make process improvements.

When the traceability information is on the chain, all participants can benefit. Manufacturers can optimize production and inventory based on sales data. Brands can accurately market consumers. Retailers can understand production information and control quality. Regulators can also query traceability information in the alliance chain to improve regulatory efficiency.

Third, the technology hits the wall

With more categories, the scene is more complicated. Soon, the e-commerce platform that just tasted the sweetness immediately encountered various technical challenges.

The blockchain department of Jingdong District has set a new goal: the traceability should cover more than 50% of Jingdong's products.

Soon, the team fell into a quagmire because of this goal, and the progress was weak.

Every time a product is chained, Liu Siyi has to redesign a set of plans, and personally carry out the whole process of the project, with the parties to meet the needs, sometimes the R & D personnel have to change the code, the workload is very large.

Even if the team keeps on ticking with the brand every day, there are only a dozen new SKUs on the chain every week. Yan Xinlei feels that the business promotion is very weak. How many merchants can there be? He has no bottom in his heart.

"This is normal. The B-side application is not like the C-end. It can show the curve of the user's exponential growth." He comforted himself.

After adjusting the mentality, the Jingdong Blockchain team decided to adjust the technology: to promote the componentization transformation of the “anti-counterfeiting traceability platform”. Since the needs of brand owners are ever-changing, the platform must be transformed into "Lego blocks". This took a full year and a half of the Jingdong blockchain to initially have the ability to componentize the anti-counterfeiting platform. The blockchain anti-counterfeiting traceability platform of Jingdong District is built on the mainstream open source underlying engine Fabric. The team found some bottlenecks of Fabric in use, such as support for national secret algorithms, flexibility and scalability of the books. "We want to build a low-level engine ourselves. At the time, everyone said that we were crazy." The team agreed that this is the trend of the times. Blockchain, a technology for solving trust, must be open and visible. So, they found industry experts and formed a team of ten assault squads to do technical challenges.

In August 2018, JD BaaS was released, and Jingdong began to deepen the enterprise-level blockchain service platform.

In March of 2019, the underlying framework of JD Chain was officially open source. Zhang Zuyi and chief architect Huang Haiquan of the JD Chain product team recalled that “the team has learned the experience of many other advanced blockchain underlying engines, and the code is knocked out from scratch. ""

Platformization brings obvious efficiency improvement: At the beginning, it takes about one month for a brand to communicate from the communication to the online line, and there are at least five calls in the middle.

After traced back to Jingdong Cloud on the platform, it took only one week from configuration to online, and the efficiency was increased by 4 times and the time saved by 1/4.

At the same time, Suning encountered brand manufacturers lacking technical ability, and it is difficult to become a problem on the chain. Either there is no server, or no blockchain, or no software foundation.

In response to the problem, Shao Junbao and the blockchain team decided to provide technical support to the participants to help them deploy the bottom of the blockchain.

Shao Junbao and colleagues put forward a bold idea: to make blockchain commodity traceability services into independent SaaS, deploy to Suning Cloud platform, and support external users.

Three months later, Suning BaaS went online, and merchants could achieve one-button winding.

At the Yunxi Conference in 2018, Jiang Guofei announced the launch of the blockchain BaaS service platform and launched the Ant Blockchain Partner Program, enabling small and medium-sized entrepreneurs in the blockchain to directly develop and innovate various application scenarios on the underlying technology. .

On the blockchain service platform of Ant Financial, modular management of components can be realized, which is a one-stop deployment, fast verification, flexible and customizable one-stop blockchain application development.

Although the e-commerce platforms encountered different technical difficulties and different implementation paths, they eventually developed into flexible and componentized platforms and empowered external enterprises.

Fourth, going to commercialization

At present, the industry believes that there are several types of commodities that are suitable for traceability of blockchain: consumers pay special attention to the industry, food safety, high-value products, and regional specialty products.

To be commercial, you have to seize the biggest demand of the market.

The large-scale application of Jingdong's first retail industry appeared three months after the launch of JD BaaS.

On November 19th, Jingdong's global purchase brand was upgraded to “Haicang Global”, focusing on the direct purchase mode of origin, and strengthening the advantages of self-operated direct mining and Jingdong distribution.

In the face of huge traceability requirements, Zhizheng chain anti-counterfeiting traceability platform ushered in the first access to the small peak, a large number of Haishu global self-operated goods on the chain.

The team found in the exploration of “Haicang Global” that it should first find products that consumers really care about traceability data based on categories, so the team quickly extended the key categories to the beverage category. In addition, the team also supported the pat on second-hand second-hand merchandise detection traceability.

The blockchain team in Jingdong District has found a method for promoting the traceability of blockchains—focusing on categories, starting with a single point of breakthrough, gradually expanding into a face, infiltrating more similar brands, and constantly iterating vertical solutions for categories based on the needs of brand feedback. .

Today, the platform scan code has grown thousands of times from the initial ten times a week.

Up to now, the blockchain of Jingdong District has accumulated more than 1.3 billion class uplink data, and cooperated with more than 700 brands, more than 60,000 SKUs settled in, more than 6 million consumer traceability visits, covering more than 10 business scenarios.

From last year to now, Suning blockchain has covered 50% of Suning's overseas purchases, and also participated in the traceability of Shandong cherry, Australian navel orange, Maotai and other commodities.

Suning provided blockchain traceability software and hardware facilities for a Shandong cherry brand. The latter was once the central distributor of Suning, and now the top sales volume. At present, there are hundreds of millions of traceable data records in the blockchain of Suning District, with SKUs approaching 30,000, and the number of commodities involved in traceability is nearly one million.

After figuring out the door, the blockchain teams in Jingdong and Suning began to explore commercialization.

In December 2018, JD BaaS, the blockchain-as-a-service platform of Jingdong District, was officially opened based on Jingdong Cloud. It was also at this moment that the Jingdong blockchain team was adjusted to Jingdong Digital Technology Group.

At present, the Suning blockchain has helped some brands or partners to use the blockchain traceability scenarios to bring in some sales and make up for some of the R&D costs.

Suning plans to cover the traceability scene to the whole category and the whole scene, so that consumers can give an ID to the products purchased by Suning, and trace the complete life cycle of the products, so that consumers can buy more with confidence.

Recalling the three years of the eleventh in the Jingdong blockchain, Liu Wenzhao was very emotional.

In 2017, the team focused on the company's internal market education, held a theme event, promoted online at major sales portals, and conducted on-site experience at the first floor of the Jingdong Building and the cafeteria, driving more users and brands. participate.

In the 2018 double 11, in order to promote the traceability education of consumers, the team planned the “Looking for the global traceability of Haitang” activities. Lucky Koi won more than 100 pieces of sea bream global good things, and the activity scan code increased by 40% than usual.

In the 2019 double 11, the blockchain traceability has become a regular activity self-running, traceable goods in the search page, product pages have quality traceability display, brand owners take the initiative to introduce traceability on the activity page.

The blockchain and industry integration is still in its infancy. “Performance is important but not the only core indicator. The willingness of enterprises to join the blockchain network and the scenario of finding real commercial value are the key points,” said Yan Xinlei.

The focus of each e-commerce platform is how to attract more enterprises to the chain, improve the traceability of the blockchain, and build a credible value network.

The ant blockchain is to establish a cross-chain communication infrastructure. At the 2019 Yunqi Conference, Jiang Guofei released the ODATS cross-chain product, which is dedicated to building a cross-chain communication infrastructure and carrying the blockchain value Internet.

With the help of the blockchain, the interworking of the physical world and the digital world will eventually form a huge value Internet, thus realizing the interconnection of all things.

To form this value network, the blockchain needs more “double 11” tempering to find real business value from the actual business scenario.

Fortunately, the e-commerce platform's native business provides an excellent training ground for its blockchain traceability.