As the first demonstration experiment, the project will partner with Aya town, one of the local government members of the Association of The Most Beautiful Villages in Japan, Japanese NPO. Aya town has been leading initiatives to develop organic farming methods in Japan. The project will seek to take advantage of blockchain technology to highlight the safety of organic farming products.

Purpose of the Research Project

Blockchain technology, which integrates a distributed ledger into a network, is a new reliable protocol that maintains the authenticity of information exchanged over the internet. It is expected to have applications that extend beyond finance to a variety of other fields. One of such fields is local government, whose capabilities are limited when it comes to undertaking large-scale investments to develop systems and building management structures. InnoLab, Guardtime and SIVIRA have recognized the possibility of utilizing distributed-type blockchain technologies in broader applications to provide various solutions in this field. Following this recognition, the three companies started a new IoVB project that utilizes blockchain technologies to support regional revitalization.

Demonstration Experiment with Aya town

Based on the Ordinance concerning the Promotion of Agriculture that Respects Natural Ecosystems (1988), Aya town implemented strict production controls of agricultural products to meet the needs of consumers that demand safe foods.

Organic products in Aya town are sold labeled with a goldsilver, or bronze rank based on the town’s own farmland criteria and production control standards. However, the information about the related process and its value has not been delivered sufficiently to consumers. Aya town therefore agreed to participate in the demonstration experiment to further highlight the town’s strict initiatives and the high quality of organic products shipped from Aya town.

This experiment mainly verifies two points

First is the result of registering production management information using blockchain. Farmers in Aya town plant, harvest, use fertilizers and pesticides, and conduct quality checks of soil and agricultural products in accordance with Aya town’s certification system. This demonstration experiment records all of these processing data in a blockchain, built utilizing the product of SIRIVA, Broof

Through this process, Aya town labels products shipped from the town with a verification mark based on the town’s proprietary standards and with a specific ID. By searching for the ID code online, consumers can verify that a particular agricultural product was indeed produced in Aya town, that it was produced based on Aya town’s strict certification standards, and that the process record has not been tampered with. The experiment seeks to verify whether it is possible for this authentication system created using blockchain to influence consumer behavior and whether the system is not too complex to be operated by a local government.

The second point is guaranteeing the reliability of the system. This experiment, which uses a blockchain that registers production management information, is a so-called private-type blockchain that is operated and managed by Aya town. This blockchain is integrated with Guardtime’s Keyless Signature Infrastructure (KSI) blockchain to create a system that further enhances information reliability.

At IoVB, combining two blockchains as in the experiment discussed above to verify authenticity is described as Proof of Proof (PoP), and we seek to test the system’s effectiveness.

Overview of Each Entity and Its Responsibilities

InnoLab is an R&D organization established by ISID in April 2011 that seeks to develop various services and research technologies, primarily in the fields of urban development, tourism and sports. Previous projects include the introduction of a communications base in Grand Front Osaka, a large multipurpose facility near the East Exit of Osaka Station, which was created to facilitate communication between the city and visitors. Other project is an experiment employing a real-time matching system in collaboration with Shinagawa-ku (Tokyo) and other areas that matches visitors to Japan with regional volunteer guides. ISID drew on this experience and knowledge for the overall planning, management and construction of the system for this project.

Guardtime is an IT company with Estonian roots. Guardtime’s KSI Blockchain is integrated to the core platform of e-Estonia.  KSI Blockchain is used to ensure integrity and immutable audit trail of government services —Estonia is leading the world with the roll-out of blockchain technologies. Guardtime has a significant track record implementing blockchain technologies to meet society’s needs. Guardtime will provide expertise and its proprietary KSI blockchain for this project.

SIVIRA is a Japanese venture company that advances blockchain research and development and offers related solutions. The company has been leading the development of blockchain systems for applications beyond the FinTech field. SIVIRA will provide its expertise regarding blockchain development and Broof, its proprietary high-speed processing blockchain platform that can be used as a database.

All three companies will contribute their respective strengths, and will continue to perform research and conduct surveys in partnership with many companies and local governments to advance regional revitalization in various fields as they seek to implement blockchain technologies to meet society’s needs.