Blockchain Your Supply Chain

BADEN-WÜRTTEMBERG, GERMANY – Where was it made? By whom? Amid densely wooded mountains and valleys, these are perennial questions asked by tourists to Germany’s Black Forest region, dotted with medieval castles, half-timbered houses, and stone-bridge villages. Home to global manufacturing champions such as Carl Zeiss AG and Robert Bosch GmbH, the region is also birthplace to countless Mittelstandfirms famed for their world-class products from wristwatches to furniture to beer. As such, Baden-Württemberg is at once contributor and ambassador to the proud label “Made in Germany” and all the gravitas that comes with.

Baden-Württemberg’s tourists are not alone in their search of authenticity and provenance. Thanks in part to increasing globalization, supply chain for consumer and industrial goods alike has over time become convoluted and opaque. Indeed semiconductor counterfeiting has long been a serious concern to design engineers, supply chain professionals, and the semiconductor industry itself. Just last week, AspenCore’s EE Times and EE Times Asia covered the most recent incident of counterfeit AMD Ryzen 7 processors listed for sale on Amazon here and here. Moral of the story: buy only from official franchisees, and partner with your distributor to regularly audit your supply chain.

And yet at AspenCore we are surprised for all its benefits and “here now” application in the financial services sector, blockchain technology seems to have garnered disproportionately little public attention in semiconductor circles. A simple protocol that allows transactions to be simultaneously anonymous and secure by maintaining a tamper-proof distributed ledger of value, blockchain has been dubbed The Trust Protocol by advocates and has been re-shaping money as we know it.

Not that we are unaware of the current stumbling blocks in deploying blockchain in the semiconductor supply chain – our very own Hailey McKeefry at EBN wrote an insightful article in March, then another in May, on those challenges. But it seems to us that low awareness is still the main culprit for lack of public discourse and action. So in AspenCore’s What we would like to see more of in August 2017, we encourage you, our readers, to write in and let us know your thoughts on the subject and who you think is quietly doing amazing work in this area. Meanwhile, we will be researching and looking for experts to speak to on our own, both inside and outside the industry, and report back to you in a later issue this year.

As always, you can contact us by commenting on our website, writing to any of our editors, or sending me a note directly at victor@aspencore.com. We love hearing from you.

W. Victor Gao | Publisher and Managing Director, AspenCore