These are early days and the community view is just one of a number of strands when it comes to Almond’s plans for its solution.
Firstly, Almond has a stated goal of supporting ten brands by March of next year and, says Bolton, is on course for this. The work with FACT has effectively been a Proof of Concept. There are discussions with, among others, retailers of clothing, cosmetics, fruit and electronic goods. By March 2023, Almond aims to support 15,000 brands.
Second, there is a plan to create the Almond Foundation, which will be a decentralised, not for profit body with a democratic constitution. The Foundation will create a charter that will include the criteria that brands, retailers and producers must meet to be selected. The legal status of the Foundation means it will be protected from acquisition, adds Bolton.
Each product will be tokenized and will have an Almond Matrix Code linked to a decentralised smart contract that will hold a percentage of the product’s wholesale value.
The distributed ledger technology selected to underpin Almond is Hedera’s Hashgraph, a blockchain-based platform. This was attractive, says Bolton, because it has much lower energy consumption than other platforms, which fits with Almond’s ethos, plus strong security and governance (it is governed by a council of members), while being cost-effective.
Customers will be able to see the product supply trail with data such as production dates, product composition, and CO2 footprint. They will also be able to learn about the brand’s story and the people behind it. Bolton foresees moving away from scanning via the app – “a big friction point” – towards automatic activation at the point of sale.
Brands and their suppliers will be required to validate and geo-time stamp each step of the production process on the Almond blockchain.
Also planned for the app are active measures to increase recycling rates and encourage more responsible consumption, including product locators, personalised recommendations, and an online store to buy Almond accredited goods in the customer’s region (or via third-party online stores). For recycling, Almond is talking to a vegetarian shoe brand about the feasibility of consumers sending back their products for repair or recycling at end of life to earn additional Almond credits.