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Liquidator appointed to blockchain provider BeefLedger

James Nason, 11/03/2022

BEEF industry blockchain and cryptocurrency pioneer BeefLedger Ltd has entered external administration, after Brisbane-based accountancy and insolvency firm David Clout and Associates was appointed liquidator of the company two weeks ago.

In a short statement to Beef Central this afternoon a company spokesperson said the company had entered administration as a step to “realign” the organisation.

“Formalising the process is the appropriate way for us to complete an internal consolidation and reorganisation to align with strategic priorities.”

Launched in November 2017, BeefLedger pioneered the development of blockchain technology to provide verifiable provenance of branded beef through all points of the supply chain.

The company was heavily focused on China, and in 2018 cited research by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimating “that every second kilogram of beef sold in China as Australian isn’t Australian”.

BeefLedger Ltd created “the world’s first application of distributed ledger or blockchain technology to the entire beef supply chain”, as described by team member Professor Marcus Foth, Professor of Urban Informatics at the QUT Design Lab and leader of Future Food Systems CRC Smart Trade Hubs project.

In late 2017 BeefLedger Ltd was announced as first project of the $200m QUT-based Food Agility CRC.

A page on the QUT website lists a project involving BeefLedger as receiving $1 million in funding and grants from 2018 to 2020. It is understood this figure included an undisclosed amount of co-funding from BeefLedger and QUT. “BeefLedger was a co-investor in the Blockchain in Beef Exports project, along with QUT. The project finished in 2020,” a spokesperson from Food Agility CRC told BeefCentral in a written statement.

In 2018 BeefLedger launched BEEF Digital Tokens, a digital cryptocurrency for people to participate and invest in the development of the BeefLedger Blockchain platform.

In May 2020 BeefLedger announced it was commencing a new three-year project with the Future Food Systems CRC, building on the foundation of previous project co-funded by QUT, BeefLedger Ltd and the Food Agility CRC.

BeefLedger Ltd is chaired by Warwick Powell, a former university history lecturer, personal private secretary to Kevin Rudd in the Qld Government, economics and statistics research company founder and financier and investment fund manager, who was named a QUT Adjunct Professor in 2019.

No public details have been provided to explain the reasons behind the company’s move into administration.

The Future Food Systems CRC annual report 2019-20 made reference to the project experiencing “some challenges” due to pandemic-related shutdowns and restrictions on travel,  along with a deterioration in the relationship between China and Australia that negatively impacted bilateral trade.

However, the report added that by the end of FY2019/20, the project “was on track to deliver as per its initial timeline”.

In a June 2020 post to the BeefLedger website, chair Warwick Powell noted that “trade tensions have risen “, which had seen the suspension of four Australian abattoirs by China for technical violations.

“This isn’t the first time, and our contacts in the processing sector tell us they are working hard to remedy any process defects.”

Despite those efforts the number of Australian abattoirs with export licenses suspended by China had grown to 10 by February this year.

TIMELINE

Below is a timeline documenting a number of announcements and developments related to BeefLedger since its launch in 2017:

8 November 2017  BeefLedger announces research and development collaboration with James Cook University

5 December 2017  BeefLedger announced as first project of the $200m QUT-based Food Agility CRC

June 2018  BeefLedger releases BEEF Digital Tokens, a mechanism by which people can participate and invest in the development of the BeefLedger Blockchain platform.

10 Aug 2018  PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) estimates sales of fraudulent Australian branded beef in China worth $2 billion a year

10 Dec 2018  BeefLedger delivers provenance-verified Australian beef in trial to track provenance from a property South Australia to abattoir in Casino to customer in China

27 June 2019 BeefLedger announces establishment of its first independent “micro” distribution partnership in China

July 2019  BeefLedger announces that another shipment of Australian beef, credentialed using blockchain technology, from natural grass pastures in south west Qld, had landed in China

25 October 2019 China’s President Xi Jinping urges development and application of blockchain technologies in China to be fast tracked

7 Feb 2020 The Australian Government launches National Blockchain Road map

14 April 2020  BeefLedger founder and chair Warwick Powell joins Future Food Systems CRC research advisory committee

22 May 2020  BeefLedger commences new three-year project  with the Future Food Systems CRC, building on previous project co-funded by QUT, BeefLedger Ltd and the Food Agility CRC.

3 August 2020 Southern Cross Beef and BeefLedger partner to offer locally produced Qld beef for sale using cryptocurrency and verified local provenance.

September 2020 BeefLedger becomes first blockchain project to win Good Design Australia awards , winning the ‘Service Design: Commercial Services’ category and the ‘Design Strategy’ category

October 2020  BeefLedger announces first blockchain-enabled traceability solution for the beef supply chain in South Africa, BeefLedger SA

25 March 2021 BeefLedger most recent online news announcement, posted relating to collaboration with Cavalier Food Group in South Africa.

 

 

 

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