Supply Chain Meets NFTs in New Offering From Enterprise OG MultiChain

Can track-and-trace get a boost from the world of digital collectibles?

Nov 16, 2021 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Nov 16, 2021 at 3:35 p.m. UTC

MultiChain, one of the first blockchain platforms to explore ways enterprises could benefit from crypto tech, is adapting non-fungible tokens (NFTs) to the needs of buttoned-up businesses.

London-headquartered Coin Sciences has integrated support for NFTs with the release of MultiChain 2.2, announced Tuesday, in response to customers looking to apply non-fungible properties in certain permissioned settings.

A few years have passed since the great hype around enterprise blockchain. While the application of blockchains behind company firewalls is not going to transform all IT systems worldwide, strong use cases have emerged where multiple firms want to safely share a database without putting someone in charge.

Meanwhile, NFTs, with their digital watermarking capabilities are now established, particularly within creative industries like art, design, photography and music. From a business perspective, NFTs can be used to make all kinds of assets non-fungible, so that each of their units is separately named and tracked, for example.

“Since the whole NFT thing happened, quite a few of our customers and users have said, ‘We want to do that. But we don’t want to do it in a public blockchain,’” said Coin Sciences CEO Gideon Greenspan in an interview. “So instead of tracking aggregates of items – 50,000 units of this and 10,000 units of that – you’re actually tracking individual items where there’s a large number of such items going across the supply chain, which becomes practical to do.”

Coin Sciences is not the only enterprise blockchain platform to have noticed the practicalities of using NFTs. IBM and the Linux-affiliated Hyperledger blockchain Fabric have also been working on enterprise NFTs.

The MultiChain version of NFTs is not based on Ethereum standards like ERC-721 and involves no smart contract coding, Greenspan explained.

“The approach we take at MultiChain is that in order to use a blockchain, you shouldn’t have to program your blockchain,” he said. “So the functionality that we provide for assets, data storage and distribution, and now for NFTs, it’s all based on out-of-the-box functionality. You can just use these building blocks that MultiChain provides.”

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Ian Allison is a senior reporter at CoinDesk.