Although not stated directly, the implicit message of last evening’s MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge Innovation Series event, Emerging Applications of Blockchain for Supply Chains, is that blockchains are (or should be) everywhere.

Yeah, the event was about how open ledger technology can make supply chain management more efficient, but, as panelist Dan Harple said, “we are all a supply chain.” The things we learn, the ideas we think up, the products we make and consume… they are all links in a cosmic supply chain and if you take that concept to its logical conclusion, blockchains can be a liberating and empowering force.

Blockchain technology is a highly federated means of establishing the identity and authenticity of things, both physical and digital. Most often associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, blockchain is already being used to address issues of product piracy and for tracking use of intellectual property in the music industry. Those are just a couple examples given by the panel of innovators whose work is helping to ensure the safety of pharmaceuticals and food as well as help companies manage their operations more efficiently.

Consider the anecdote offered by IBM’s Brigid McDermott, who said that, in a world that discards one-third of all the food it produces, blockchain can play a significant role by ensuring it does not spoil in transit or in storage. And if blockchain can make the world’s food supply chains more efficient, it will also address one of the major sources of pollution.

In other words, blockchain can not only help feed the world, but it can also help to save the world.

Meanwhile, as the panelists told their own stories, in turn they encouraged the full house of interested attendees to think about how they might use blockchain to improve things in their worlds and to go out and do it. There’s no reason to wait, and certainly there’s no reason to ask for permission.

That’s advice we can all use, blockchain or not.

Thank you to the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge and to the panelists whose participation made the event worthwhile. It’s exactly these types of high caliber events that prompts CHEN PR to serve as a multi-decade sponsor of the organization and co-chair its Innovation Series committee, which hosted last eve’s summit.