“Tomorrow the biggest blockchain users in France will be farmers”

Antoine Maisonneuve is director of the blockchain program at Orange Business Services, the business services subsidiary of the Orange group, where about fifteen people are dedicated to b.lock chain. He is also president of the Alliance Blockchain France, an association that brings together companies and universities whose mission to implement a common and sovereign blockchain infrastructure. He explains what this project consists of and describes his first use case in the field of agriculture.

L’Usine Digitale: What is the purpose of Alliance Blockchain France, which you chair for the first year?

Antoine Maisonneuve: Initially, OBS wanted to create its own Orange blockchain for its customers: a blockchain whose identity, thanks to a digital identity wallet, would be a basis of trust. But it soon became clear that this did not make sense, because the effort goes far beyond Orange.

The Alliance was launched with the goal of creating a layer of interoperable identities to make it much easier to manage. For this, it is necessary to create a common base that will accommodate many use cases. Our goal is to develop wallets that can be used by businesses and the public, much simpler than what exists in cryptocurrencies, to make transactions between wallets and no longer between IP addresses. The first use case is agricultural data with Agriconsent.

Why use a blockchain?

For security reasons and technological simplicity regarding peer-to-peer connections. The more actors that interact with the platform, the more interesting the blockchain is for managing P2P exchanges.

And why not use a public blockchain?

Because we do not control its management. We do not take the risk, like Orange, of exposing our customers to blockchains whose governance and sustainability we do not control. We want an infrastructure whose management is compatible with our customers’ challenges. The subtlety is that we are on a public blockchain philosophy: anyone can come and connect. It is open to all companies operating in France.

We are also going to base ourselves on existing blockchain bases that we are in the process of selecting. In Europe, several are already used in national networks such as Hyperledger Besu, Iota, Hyperledger Fabric, and there are also French technologies such as Tezos. Meanwhile, we use the Spanish sovereign blockchain for our experiments.

What is the Agriconsent project?

We worked with agricultural data consent. It should be noted that large agricultural machines, whose machines are lined with sensors, have access to enormous amounts of information. They know everything that is harvested all over the planet. AgriConsent aims to protect this agricultural data, which today farmers do not have the ability to choose whether they agree to share and with whom. The project contains two parts: the data exchange platform and the consent part.

OBS’ work specifically relates to the digital identity to which this consent can be linked. Blockchain acts here as a trusted third party at the level of the agricultural ecosystem. We will start production pilots in October. The Agdatahub platform will be implemented in early 2023. The project is entirely in the spirit of the Data Governance Act, GDPR for companies, which will be applicable in 2023.

How will this work?

The wallet is a mobile application for natural persons, linked to a cloud wallet for legal entities. We use this application to connect to Agriconsent via a France Connect account. The created digital identity thus testifies to your civil and professional identity, it confirms that you are a legitimate beneficiary. Then the platform makes it possible to generate contracts according to the farmers’ choice. A company that wants to access a farmer’s data goes through the platform and everything is managed automatically, in P2P. Remuneration can be defined, for example. Tomorrow, the biggest blockchain users in France will be farmers!

What are the prospects for such a project?

We will find this use case in all sectors that present this data management problem. Media and tourist offices, for example, who use images and need to know who the author is to avoid intellectual property disputes; or transportation, where such a platform could allow delivery people to connect with carriers to manage the traceability of a package.

Leave a Comment