The Promise of Blockchain Technology for Food & Agriculture

Speaker:  Marcus Foth – Brisbane, QLD, Australia
Topic(s):  Human Computer Interaction


After its first prominent application as part of the digital cryptocurrency Bitcoin, blockchain and distributed ledger technology are gaining in popularity. Blockchain comprises a chain of blocks (the ledger) that provides a secure, immutable and auditable list of ordered records. Using both cryptography and a distributed database, once a block is recorded, it can no longer be changed. In Bitcoin’s case, the ledger contains the history of all currency transactions.

This presentation offers a critical overview of the blockchain technology for a general audience, in three parts: (1) The principles making blockchain technology possible are briefly explained using examples. (2) Specific cases such as food provenance and supply chain tracing in the beef industry, are used to illustrate both the wide array of possible applications and the profound implications of blockchain technology. (3) Opportunities and challenges for both human-computer interaction and business applications are discussed in the form of a nascent research agenda.

Professor Foth founded the Urban Informatics Research Lab at QUT in 2006. Ahead of their time and before the term “smart cities” became popular, the lab pioneered a new field of study and practice: Urban informatics, which examines how people create, apply and use information and communication technology and data in cities and urban environments. QUT Urban Informatics has been one of the leading research groups in the world conducting transdisciplinary research that addresses a number of critical challenges facing our cities.

About this Lecture

Number of Slides:  27
Duration:  45 minutes
Languages Available:  English
Last Updated: 

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