A new University of Malta project being led by Dr Joshua Ellul and Prof. Gordon Pace from the Centre for Distributed Ledger Technologies and the Faculty of Information & Communication Technology, respectively, titled VinoVeritas, empowers one to tell the truth not due to the consumption of wine, but due to obtaining the truth about wine prior to consumption. This is via the use of Blockchain and the Internet of Things.
When we purchase wine, we trust the wine producers to use certain ingredients and follow certain procedures. The wine producers in turn trust their employees, contractors, service providers and produce providers to employ the best practices. This is further strengthened by the national authorities who typically undertake inspection and audits to ensure everything is in place.
As consumers, we place a huge amount of trust in such a manual system. But what if there was a better way of providing transparency in respect to the wine production supply chain?
In the Vino Veritas project, researchers are investigating a blockchain system that is not controlled by wine producers, but by a national authority along with a consortium of involved parties, decentralising the process of best practices and providing higher levels of assurances with respect to transparency in the wine supply chain, and reducing costs of ownership and inclusion.
Furthermore, consumers need not utilise different apps for different producers, as one single app or website could present information pertaining to different brands.
Internet of Things (IoT) devices will also be used to automatically list the environmental conditions grapes used were subject to and record external phenomena.
Dr Ellul says this brings together challenges of bridging the IoT and Blockchain worlds - where IoT sensors become trusted, and IoT sensors can be manipulated to provide data that their operator may want them to provide. "Therefore, we will be investigating how different trust models can be applied to provide higher assurances that the data fed into a blockchain can be trusted."
This project was awarded over EUR 192,000 in funding through the Parliamentary Secretariat for European Funds, and will run between 2021 and 2024.