BlockEra Builds Silo, an Ag Protocol on the Blockchain
Using Ethereum and IPFS as a trusted source of agricultural data
What it is
Silo is a blockchain protocol that provides a trusted source of public data for the future of agricultural production. This protocol allows the ag industry, from small organic farmers to large industrials producers, to perfectly coordinate production from inputs to farm to table through trusted data.
What it does
This system allows farmers to put food safety and traceability data onto a blockchain where it can be seen by all interested parties between the farmer and end consumer. It eliminates the need for separate data systems across the food chain that need to be updated and reconciled.
Why it matters
Auditability and verifiability of our food is a growing want and need by consumers, food companies, and regulators. The Silo protocol allows any farmer to upload information to the Ethereum blockchain where it can be shared by food processors and retailers all the way downstream to the end consumer.
A food company wants to buy corn from a farmer with certain specifications. This could include things like seed type, fertilizers, water usage, etc. Currently, this process is manually done by the farmer filling out the relevant information. This data is eventually uploaded into a non-auditable, closed system owned by the food company. Because of this, the end consumer has to trust the farmer and food company on where and what went into their food. With Silo, the data surrounding the corn can be uploaded to the Silo protocol by the farmer, timestamped, saved indefinitely on the blockchain, and accessed by relevant parties. This information can be easily used by downstream food processors and retailers to reference the data to the end consumer. This provides an open window to everything that went into production of our food.
The Silo protocol allows a farmer to print data onto a blockchain manually through a web interface or automatically through an API. Once the farmer has input the data, it is available to be audited and verified through an IPFS link and an Etherscan link. Additionally, the application has search capabilities to find specific field or event types.
Field B being selected as a field type
Field type represents an asset. Examples of this would be Field B (as shown above) or Bob Farmer’s Field #1. It can represent livestock such as Cow #765 or Chicken Flock #12. It can even represent a tractor!
Field B had fertilizer applied as an event type
Event type represents something that happened. Examples of this would be Field B had fertilizer applied to it (as shown above). Or, Cow #765 had antibiotics administered to it.
50–100lbs of ferrous sulfate heptahydrate per acre added as an event note
Event notes are unstructured data (as shown above) that provides more detail to the field type and event type.
Silo uses two unique technologies to achieve verifiability, auditability, and scale. The underlying blockchain of Silo is the Ethereum blockchain. Ethereum was chosen because it is a public blockchain that anyone can access across the globe. Ethereum is a strong foundational blockchain that guarantees that once data is submitted to it, the data can’t be changed. This allows for verifiability and auditability of all data. The second technology that was used is IPFS. IPFS is a storage solution that allows large amounts of content to be stored cheaply and efficiently, providing the scale needed for this project. Combined with Ethereum, IPFS allows any amount of data to be verifiable and auditable.