The Fintech Times had a lengthy discussion with Scott Nelson, the CEO of Sweetbridge – a non-profit and open-source project that aims to use blockchain to transform the supply-chain industry, which accounts for two thirds, or $54 trillion, of global GDP. During the interview we discussed not only Sweetbridge and its huge potential, but also blockchain more generally, including the ways in which it can help reduce human rights violations in, and the environmental impact of, supply chains around the world, as well as the impact of Brexit on the UK.
Scott has worked in the logistics industry since the early eighties, and in 1993 he founded his own company, Trax Technologies, which he ran until 2016. In his own words he has been at “the bleeding edge of technology” over his career. Under his leadership, Trax Technologies evolved from a small logistics consulting and software development firm into a global SaaS & managed services company with operations in the US, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
By the time the company was successfully sold to a private equity firm in 2015, Trax Technologies had been able to attract some of the world’s leading companies as customers, amongst which were Hewlett-Packard, Apple, and Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies. No least responsible for Trax Technologies’s success was the extensive and early application of technology to solve some of the inherent problems of the logistics industry, especially in the settlement process. However, blockchain, Scott realised, offers a whole realm of new possibilities. With Sweetbridge, the hope is to make world trade better, fairer, cheaper and more efficient.
We asked Scott about how blockchain might be able to prevent human rights violations in supply chains. He replied:
“These four things that can be out of synch – identity, contract, accounting, and payment – determine whether there was something wrong financially [in the supply-chain]. If you make identity (of people, entities, legal agreements and companies), contract, accounting, and the payment process, all happen in atomic transactions that have to be signed by everybody, it’s now very, very difficult to cheat, and if you do this in a supply chain, it’s now very difficult to fake anything. You’d almost have to build an entire supply chain network to actually fake anything, and the cost for doing that would just be so astronomically high that there’s no economic advantage for doing it. By making assets become fluid, it doesn’t matter whether the person who owns the asset has bad credit or lives in the third world, or it’s the most powerful company on earth, everybody has the same deal. That means the best have to actually compete to be the best.
What was one of the most astonishing things I learned in my old business is that many times the smaller, more nimble companies were actually far more efficient and produced far better results than the big companies, and the only way the big companies were winning was because of their financial advantage. What Sweetbridge does is it makes everybody have to be as good as everybody else, and that’s going to be good for everybody. It’s going to make it very difficult for people to lie and cheat and steal, so honest people can win and crooks can’t.”
Sweetbridge will operate as a two-token system and is just a few months away from launching its products. The interview with Scott will be published in the Ocotber edition of The Fintech Times, and will offer insights into Sweetbridge itself and the fintech industry as a whole.
To find out what impact decentralised lending is having on the supply chain, check out; Could Decentralised Lending Finance The Global Supply Chain?