Meet the Startup which is Building Ethereum for Decentralised Commerce

Param is built on a proprietary blockchain ledger that enables companies to have a supply chain protocol for enterprise interconnect, data exchange and trust.
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In 2015, Vaideeswaran Sethuraman started ‘Terraa’, a farm-to-fork delivery platform with a supply chain system that could bring together fresh produce grown across various regions to a consumer’s doorstep on a subscription basis. 

While working on the business, he realised the massive challenge that exists in the process of delivering fresh produce from farm to customers’ doorsteps. This was the time when Sethuraman also came across blockchain as a technology. 

In 2018, the technology was still at a nascent stage. However, what was clear to Sethuraman was the opportunity to use blockchain. He realised that when you are doing a farm-to-fork e-commerce business, you want to be a decentralised player between the producer and consumers. Blockchain taught him the lesson in terms of how to eliminate yourself and still carry out the farm-to-fork business, which served as an inspiration to start Param Network. 

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Param Network through its world’s first low code web3 workflow brings together all parts of the supply chain such as suppliers, logistics and service providers, asset operators, maintenance contractors and more. It unifies all points of interaction into one platform, giving unparalleled visibility into all levels of the value chain.

To know more about the unique project, we had a deep conversation with Vaideeswaran who shared his vision about the proprietary blockchain protocol he has built and his end goals. 

AIM: What are the challenges in the supply chain and why are Web2 solutions not enough for solving these problems?

Vaideeswaran: A supply chain transaction has many parties involved—freight forwarder, transporter, custom officials, agents and customers. These parties use different solutions for each purpose and are not completely in sync with each other. 

The lack of communication among ERPs in a supply chain network makes it impossible for an enterprise to freely exchange any information digitally to fulfill their day-to-day operations. Most often, solutions like EDI fail to address the heterogeneous nature of the supply chain ecosystem due to different IT capabilities and flexibility in exchanging information. We would like to address these needs for multi-enterprise interconnect, data exchange and trust.

But, the supply–chain is all about sharing information across enterprises and in the absence of it, people don’t get any real time visibility. Due to this, there’s a cascading effect on the entire process such as delivery, manufacturing, amount payables, amount receivables and other issues. 

There’s a huge distrust among Web2 solutions, which stops them sharing data among each other and that has been the fundamental challenge in supply-chain. This results in a low level of supply-chain resiliency, and an inability to rapidly and efficiently track and trace any kind of information.

AIM: How is Param plugging the gap in the current supply chain system?

Vaideeswaran: When I say that ERPs are working in silos, it means that each enterprise is disconnected from each other. For instance, Walmart and Unilever probably do thousands of transactions every year. But, both organisations use different softwares for the supply-chain management.

So, we need to find a way to interconnect this disconnected world through some kind of a common platform. That’s where Param Network offers its proprietary blockchain solution. It interconnects all these enterprises and allows them to share information and data freely in a digital readable format. 

We provide a blockchain-based solution which connects all the enterprises together and brings transparency in the supply–chain while keeping the data safe. In our experience, clients have been able to realise cost savings of up to 20% by tracking material movement digitally, as it changes hands.

AIM: Why did you build a proprietary blockchain to provide your solution? Please tell us more about it.

Vaideeswaran: Fundamentally, public blockchains like Ethereum focus on atomic finance transactions that maintain a ledger. At the same time, commerce transaction is two-fold in complexity and goes through a lifecycle like a contract, order, invoice, goods receipt, and payment. It is a multi-party transaction involving the buyer, raw material supplier, logistics service provider, contract manufacturer, and freight forwarder. Where we saw a limitation in that none of the blockchain protocols natively understand commerce transactions. This prompted us to build our own proprietary blockchain.

On the technology part, there are two levels of consensus we can talk about—blockchain as a basic fundamental block and consensus mechanism. For consensus mechanisms, we use the RAFT consensus algorithm. 

RAFT states that each node in a replicated state machine (server cluster) can stay in any of the three states, namely, leader, candidate, follower. Evolving data consensus model is the next version but to meet the blockchain requirements fundamentally, we use RAFT.

AIM: Well, if you have built a proprietary blockchain protocol, what incentives are you giving to validators?

Vaideeswaran: Users are our validators. If users are able to send data in a digital format, get everything in real time, and streamline different operations at one place—the use case itself is a big incentive for them to become validators of the protocol. However, this is our short-term plan for this protocol. 

In the long term, we plan to take the protocol public, which could then be used for building different softwares on top of it.

AIM: Do you think that you know you can use this blockchain to solve problems in other sectors, maybe e-commerce or some other sector?

Vaideeswaran: Absolutely. So, we will soon open up the protocol as it is getting matured for the public. I think there is more room for innovation in this protocol in real world commerce. We have taken the supply chain as an anchor from a business perspective, but we are agnostic to industry or domains. 

On this protocol, developers can build a healthcare workflow so doctors can send the appointment on the network, write the prescription and receive the payment from patients. Similarly, the use case of Param Network can be extended to other sectors. 

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Tausif Alam
Tausif Alam has been covering technology for almost a decade now. He is keen about connecting dots and bringing a wholesome picture of the tech world.

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