In five years' time, IBM researchers expect "cryptographic anchors" like ink dots or "tiny computers smaller than a grain of salt" to be embedded in "everyday objects and devices," according to IBM's "5 in 5" annual technology predictions.
Big Blue expects to augment blockchain technologies in the supply chain with crypto-anchors to offset the likeliness of product fraud and to track a product's place of origin and contents, according to a company announcement.
Edible ink on a pill, the world's tiniest computer or mobile sensors on cell phones that can "detect counterfeit goods" are all suggested crypto-anchors, according to the company. These trackers will soon go from the lab to market to help ensure a good's authenticity.
IBM is a leader in the tech research, and CFO James Kavanaugh recently credited blockchain as one of the technologies which helped pull the company out of a revenue rut after 22 quarters of decline.
As the "natural" pioneer of storage invention, Big Blue has produced some of the world's most innovative mediums for technical progress, according to IBM master inventor Dr. Haris Pozidis. For example, IBM engineers hold the record for capturing 330 terabytes of data, or about 330 million books, into a cartridge small enough to fit in the palm of one's hand, according to Pozidis.
It is therefore unsurprising the company is tackling blockchain head on and helping reduce the technology's shortcomings. Shipping giant Maersk already relies on IBM's blockchain offerings, which serves as a clear introduction to the supply chain.
Blockchain already streamlines data, removes the hassle of paperwork and cuts costs within the supply chain. However, ensuring the trustworthiness of a good is not always promised through blockchain.