Private Multi-Hop Accountability for Supply Chains

In Proceedings of the 2020 IEEE International Conference on Communications Workshops (ICC Workshops ’20), 1st Workshop on Blockchain for IoT and Cyber-Physical Systems (BIoTCPS ’20), IEEE, 2020
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Today’s supply chains are becoming increasingly flexible in nature. While adaptability is vastly increased, these more dynamic associations necessitate more extensive data sharing among different stakeholders while simultaneously overturning previously established levels of trust. Hence, manufacturers’ demand to track goods and to investigate root causes of issues across their supply chains becomes more challenging to satisfy within these now untrusted environments. Complementarily, suppliers need to keep any data irrelevant to such routine checks secret to remain competitive. To bridge the needs of contractors and suppliers in increasingly flexible supply chains, we thus propose to establish a privacy-preserving and distributed multihop accountability log among the involved stakeholders based on Attribute-based Encryption and backed by a blockchain. Our large-scale feasibility study is motivated by a real-world manufacturing process, i.e., a fine blanking line, and reveals only modest costs for multi-hop tracing and tracking of goods.