For the last several years, passive income has been hailed as a near-perfect approach to generating wealth, appealing to entrepreneurs, investors and average working professionals alike. But the promise of effortless income generation sounds suspicious on its surface. Is there really a way to generate revenue without hours of work? And if so, is it accessible to the majority of the population?
The Idea Behind Passive Income
Strictly speaking, passive income is any kind of recurring income that is generated without ongoing demands for your time and effort. Wages are paid hourly and salaries are paid on an annual basis, with both forms of compensation contingent upon your working a specific number of hours; these are not passive. Instead, a passive income source would be one that sends you a check in the mail periodically, without any effort on your part.
To better understand what passive income is and how it works, let’s look at some of the most commonly cited examples of passive income in action:
Dividend-paying stocks. First, there are dividend-paying stocks. Stocks represent fractional shares of ownership in public companies. In many cases, those companies decide to distribute profits regularly in the form of quarterly dividends; shareholders can count on a set amount of quarterly income based on the number of shares they hold.
A monetized blog. If you start a blog that generates a sizable amount of traffic, in the realm of thousands of visitors per month, you can start monetizing it with the help of ads, affiliate links, premium content or other paid features. You’ll earn a share of revenue based on the number of people you attract, the number of sales you make or other factors.
Rental properties. With rental properties, you can buy a property, attract a tenant and collect an amount of rent that exceeds your monthly expenses. With a decent profit margin and a few properties under your belt, this can add up to be a lot of income.
Digital goods. You can also make passive income with the help of digital goods, like eBooks or stock photography. After developing these digital goods and marketing them consistently, you may be able to generate recurring revenue from all their future sales.
The “Passive” Income Myth
All these methods are proven to be capable of generating income. More than that, they’ve been responsible for developing many self-made millionaires. But it’s not the “income” part of the term we’re concerned with as much as the “passive” part of the term.
Passive income is rarely passive in the truest sense; while these (and other) passive income sources may require less effort than a full-time job, they may require effort in other formats and in other contexts.
Let’s take a look at each of these:
Stock research and initial capital. It’s not hard to get involved with dividend stock investing, but you’ll still have to spend time researching which stocks are available so you can maximize your return. Additionally, you’ll need a sum of initial capital to achieve a meaningful stream; many dividends only pay 2 to 4 percent annually, so investing $100 won’t give you much of a return.
Blog setup and maintenance. According to The Blog Starter, “It’s easier than ever to start a blog — but even with a good plan in place, there’s no guarantee you’ll be successful. It takes a lot of time to create content for the blog, research your target audience and refine your approach over time.” Since you’ll also need to produce new content on a regular basis, even a successful monetized blog will require at least a part-time job’s worth of effort.
Property research and maintenance. Investing in rental property requires significant upfront capital (not unlike investing in stocks), and to be successful, you’ll need to carefully research and vet each prospective property. You’ll also need to maintain your properties and manage tenant turnover, or else cut into your profits by working with a property management firm.
Digital good development. If you want to sell an eBook or stock photography, you’ll need to produce those assets first, then find a service like Shutterstock where you can sell them. This often requires dozens, or even hundreds of hours of upfront effort, and then you’ll need to market your work.
Some people have claimed that passive income is a myth, but that may be a little extreme. Instead, a more accurate assessment may be that passive income isn’t truly passive. No matter what, you’ll still need to put in the time and effort to make your income-generating strategy work; it’s just in a different format than your conventional job.
On a price return basis, the Safest Dividend Yields Model Portfolio (+4.4%) outperformed the S&P 500 (+3.8%) by 0.6% from June 23, 2022 through July 19, 2022. On a total return basis, the Model Portfolio (+4.8%) outperformed the S&P 500 (+3.8%) by 1.0% over the same time. The best performing large cap stock was up 12% and the best performing small cap stock was up 14%. Overall, nine out of the 20 Safest Dividend Yield stocks outperformed their respective benchmarks (S&P 500 and Russell 2000) from June 23, 2022 through July 19, 2022.
This Model Portfolio only includes stocks that earn an attractive or very attractive rating, have positive free cash flow and economic earnings, and offer a dividend yield greater than 3%. Companies with strong free cash flow provide higher quality and safer dividend yields because I know they have the cash to support the dividend. I think this portfolio provides a uniquely well-screened group of stocks that can help clients outperform.
Since its spin-off from Dupont De Nemours Inc. (DD) in 2019, Dow has grown revenue by 13% compounded annually and net operating profit after-tax (NOPAT) by 65% compounded annually. Dow’s NOPAT margin rose from 6% in 2019 to 13% over the trailing twelve months (TTM), while invested capital turns improved from 0.7 to 1.1 over the same time. Rising NOPAT margins and invested capital turns drive the company’s return on invested capital (ROIC) from 4% in 2019 to 14% TTM.
Figure 1: Dow’s Revenue and NOPAT Since 2019
Dow has increased its regular dividend from $2.10/share in 2019 to $2.80/share in 2021. The current quarterly dividend, when annualized, provides a 5.5% dividend yield.
Dow’s free cash flow (FCF) comfortably exceeds its regular dividend payments. From 2019 to 2021, Dow generated $16.0 billion (43% of current market cap) in FCF while paying $5.7 billion in dividends. Over the TTM, Dow has generated $6 billion in FCF and paid $2 billion in dividends. See Figure 2.
Figure 2: Dow’sFCF vs. Regular Dividends Since 2019
Companies with strong FCF provide higher quality dividend yields because the firm has the cash to support its dividend. Dividends from companies with low or negative FCF cannot be trusted as much because the company may not be able to sustain paying dividends.
DOW Is Undervalued
At its current price of $52/share, DOW has a price-to-economic book value (PEBV) ratio of 0.3. This ratio means the market expects Dow’s NOPAT to permanently decline by 70%. This expectation seems overly pessimistic given that Dow grew NOPAT by 65% compounded annually since 2019.
Even if Dow’s NOPAT margin falls to 9% (vs. 13% over the TTM) and the company’s NOPAT falls 5% compounded annually over the next decade, the stock would be worth $75+/share today – a 44% upside. See the math behind this reverse DCF scenario. Should the company’s NOPAT not fall at such a steep rate, or even grow from current levels, the stock has even more upside.
Critical Details Found in Financial Filings by My Firm’s Robo-Analyst Technology
Below are specifics on the adjustments I make based on Robo-Analyst findings in Dow’s 10-K and 10-Qs:
Income Statement: I made $3.1 billion in adjustments with a net effect of removing $930 million in non-operating expenses (2% of revenue).
Balance Sheet: I made $16.6 billion in adjustments to calculate invested capital with a net increase of $11.3 billion. The most notable adjustment was $9.0 billion (18% of reported net assets) in other comprehensive income.
Valuation: I made $24.1 billion in adjustments with a net effect of decreasing shareholder value by $19.8 billion. Apart from total debt, one of the most notable adjustments to shareholder value was $6.1 billion in underfunded pensions. This adjustment represents 16% of Dow’s market value.
Disclosure: David Trainer, Kyle Guske II, Matt Shuler, and Brian Pellegrini receive no compensation to write about any specific stock, style, or theme.
Dow annual/quarterly free cash flow history and growth rate from 2017 to 2022. Free cash flow can be defined as a measure of financial performance calculated as operating cash flow minus capital expenditures.
Dow free cash flow for the quarter ending June 30, 2022 was 2,607.00, a year-over-year.
Dow free cash flow for the twelve months ending June 30, 2022 was , a year-over-year.
Dow annual free cash flow for 2021 was $4.79B, a 18.72% decline from 2020.
Dow annual free cash flow for 2020 was $5.893B, a 48.51% increase from 2019.
Dow annual free cash flow for 2019 was $3.968B, a 91.69% increase from 2018.
Dow annual/quarterly revenue history and growth rate from 2017 to 2022. Revenue can be defined as the amount of money a company receives from its customers in exchange for the sales of goods or services. Revenue is the top line item on an income statement from which all costs and expenses are subtracted to arrive at net income.
Dow revenue for the quarter ending June 30, 2022 was $15.664B, a 12.81% increase year-over-year.
Dow revenue for the twelve months ending June 30, 2022 was $60.129B, a 30.19% increase year-over-year.
Dow annual revenue for 2021 was $54.968B, a 42.62% increase from 2020.
Dow annual revenue for 2020 was $38.542B, a 10.27% decline from 2019.
Dow annual revenue for 2019 was $42.951B, a 13.41% decline from 2018.
Current and historical gross margin, operating margin and net profit margin for Dow (DOW) over the last 10 years. Profit margin can be defined as the percentage of revenue that a company retains as income after the deduction of expenses. Dow net profit margin as of June 30, 2022 is 11.06%.
Current and historical p/e ratio for Dow (DOW) from 2017 to 2022. The price to earnings ratio is calculated by taking the latest closing price and dividing it by the most recent earnings per share (EPS) number. The PE ratio is a simple way to assess whether a stock is over or under valued and is the most widely used valuation measure. Dow PE ratio as of August 03, 2022 is 5.40.
Current and historical current ratio for Dow (DOW) from 2017 to 2022. Current ratio can be defined as a liquidity ratio that measures a company’s ability to pay short-term obligations. Dow current ratio for the three months ending June 30, 2022 was 1.64.
Historical dividend payout and yield for Dow (DOW) since 2021. The current TTM dividend payout for Dow (DOW) as of August 03, 2022 is $2.80. The current dividend yield for Dow as of August 03, 2022 is 5.43%.
Big Tech earnings were off to a solid start on Tuesday when Microsoft and Google reported stable revenue growth and margins that are unchanged from recent macro conditions. The strong margins were especially welcomed as many companies have been missing on operating margins and cash flow. Meanwhile, Microsoft delivered free cash flow of $17.8 billion and net profits of $16.7 billion along with upbeat guidance for the year. Similarly, Google reported strong free cash flow of $12.6 billion and net profits of $16 billion in the recent quarter.
The same was not true for Meta, which primarily stumbled on its Q3 guide. The company reported its first decline in revenue in company history and guidance for next quarter missed due to FX headwinds. Analyst expectations for Q3 were for $30.4 billion, or 5% growth. Instead, the company guided for $26 billion to $28.5 billion, or a YoY decline of 6% at the mid-point of the guidance with the current exchange rates creating a 6% headwind.
Alphabet: Search is Resilient
The company reported revenue of 13%, or 16% in constant currency, for a total of $69.7 billion. The operating margin was flat year-over-year, which is a win. Operating expenses grew 24% yet the operating margin was in line with previous quarters at 28% for $19.58 billion in operating income.
The net margin was a bit weaker than previous quarters in 2021 at $16 billion yet in line with last quarter. The company has free cash flow of $12.6 billion. The company has $125 billion in cash and marketable securities. The company reported EPS of $1.21 compared to $1.36 for the same period last year.
Search was stable given the current environment at 13.5% growth to $40 billion and this provided relief that not all ad spend has been paused. Search was strong last quarter at 24% growth to $40 billion, and was flat sequentially in terms of total dollar amount.
The effects of Google’s large R&D department and advances in AI cannot be overstated when it comes to the resiliency of Search in the current environment. We are getting a very slight glimpse of what’s to come for Google in terms of its advertising dominance.
The expectations were that YouTube would weigh on the report yet YouTube provided a bit of growth at 5% year-over-year. The company was adamant that YouTube growth is low because of the tough comps. The tough comps was touched on many times, such as this: “the modest year-on-year growth rate primarily reflects lapping the uniquely strong performance in the second quarter of 2021.”
Notably, Google Cloud slowed to 35.6% growth down from 43.8% growth last quarter. This means Google Cloud is growing slower than Azure on a lower revenue base. This is something to monitor in the future.
Microsoft: Double-Digit Guide for FY2023
Many tech companies are declining to give guidance while Microsoft’s management provided strong guidance in both Q1 FY2023 and for FY2023. For Q1 FY2023, management provided a 10% guide across product lines for next quarter (this includes FX headwinds) and also provided guidance for fiscal year 2023 ending in June: “We continue to expect double-digit revenue and operating income growth in both constant currency and U.S. dollars. Revenue growth will be driven by continued momentum in our commercial business and a focus on share gains across our portfolio.”
Revenue grew by 12% YoY to $51.9 billion (missed Wall Street analysts’ estimates by 0.94%) and EPS came at $2.23 (missed estimates by 2.9%). The strong US dollar negatively impacted the revenue by $595 million and EPS by $0.04. Microsoft Cloud revenue grew by 28% YoY to $25 billion. The company’s results are good considering the various macro uncertainties, China lockdown, and the strong US dollar. FY2022 revenue grew by 18% YoY to $198.3 billion and net income increased by 19% YoY to $72.7 billion.
The company’s gross income increased 10% YoY to $35.4 billion. The gross margin decreased by 147 bps to 68.2% when compared to the same period last year. Excluding the impact from the change in the accounting estimate, the gross margin was relatively unchanged.
The operating income increased by 8% YoY to $20.5 billion. The operating margin decreased by 187 bps to 39.5%. Excluding the impact from the change in the accounting estimate and FX, the operating margin would be relatively unchanged.
The company’s cash flows continued to be strong in the recent quarter. Cash from operations grew by 8% YoY to $24.6 billion (47% of revenue) and free cash flow increased by 9% YoY to $17.8 billion (34% of revenue). The company has cash and investments of $104.8 billion and debt of $49.8 billion.
Despite weakness in PCs, the company’s other segments continue to grow. Intelligent Cloud grew 20% YoY to $20.9 billion and Productivity and Business Processes segment grew 13% YoY to $16.6 billion. The company also made an accounting change in the useful life for server and network equipment assets from four to six years which will extend the depreciation expenses for the company.
Amy Hood said in the earnings call, “First, effective at the start of FY ’23, we are extending the depreciable useful life for server and network equipment assets in our cloud infrastructure from 4 to 6 years, which will apply to the asset balances on our balance sheet as of June 30, 2022, as well as future asset purchases.
As a result, based on the outstanding balances as of June 30, we expect fiscal year ’23 operating income to be favorably impacted by approximately $3.7 billion for the full fiscal year and approximately $1.1 billion in the first quarter.”
Meta: Misses Q3 Expectations
The market does not need a perfect quarter for Q2 given the numerous headwinds facing tech companies. What the market does need is a sign that a company may have bottomed and is able to guide growth (even if minimal) from Q2-Q3.
In Q2, Meta’s revenue declined for the first time in history. This was expected. However, what was not expected was the lower guide for the next quarter. The company guided for $26 billion to $28.5 billion, or a YoY decline of 6% at the mid-point of the guidance. The guidance takes into consideration the weak advertising demand the company experienced in the recent quarter and also the foreign exchange headwinds of 6%. The investors were expecting a return of growth in the next quarter.
The company had a slight beat on DAUs at 1.97 billion versus 1.96 billion expected. Monthly users were 2.93 billion slightly missed expectations of 2.94 billion. Operating expenses rose 22% YoY to $20.4 billion. This led to the drop in the operating margin to 29% in the recent quarter compared to 43% in the same period last year. It also led to the 36% YoY drop in the net income to $6.69 billion. The EPS came at $2.46 compared to $3.61 in Q2 2021.
The company is looking to further reduce the operating expenses for the year to $85 billion to $88 billion from the last quarter guidance of $87 billion to $92 million and the prior estimate of $90 billion to $95 billion.
Apple: Strong results despite challenges
Apple released strong results despite the challenging macro environment, strong US dollar, and supply chain issues. Revenue grew by 1.9% YoY to $83 billion, which was in-line with the analysts’ estimates. It reported EPS of $1.20, which beat estimates by $0.04 (4% beat).
The product segment revenue declined marginally by 0.9% YoY to $63.4 billion and the services segment revenue grew by 12% YoY to $19.6 billion. The company’s installed base of active devices reached an all-time high. It had more than 860 million of paid subscriptions, up 160 million in the past year.
The company did not give exact revenue guidance for the next quarter. Tim Cook, CEO of the company, said in the earnings call, “We’re going to accelerate revenues in the September quarter as compared to the June quarter and will decelerate on the Services side.”
The company’s gross margin was 43.26%, compared to 43.75% in the previous quarter and 43.29% in the same period last year. It was above the management’s guidance of 42% to 43%. Net income was $19.4 billion or $1.20 per share compared to $21.7 billion or $1.30 per share in the same period last year. It beat the analysts’ EPS estimates by $0.04.
The company had cash and marketable securities of $179 billion and a debt of $120 billion. The company reported strong operating cash flows of $23 billion (28% of revenue). The company returned over $28 billion to the shareholders in the recent quarter in the form of dividends and share repurchases.
Royston Roche, Equity Analyst at the I/O Fund, contributed to this article.
Please note: The I/O Fund conducts research and draws conclusions for the company’s portfolio. We then share that information with our readers and offer real-time trade notifications. This is not a guarantee of a stock’s performance and it is not financial advice. Please consult your personal financial advisor before buying any stock in the companies mentioned in this analysis. Beth Kindig and the I/O Fund own Alphabet and Microsoft at the time of writing.
The shares of Baker Hughes (NASDAQ: BKR) currently trade 50% above pre-Covid levels observed in January 2020 while the shares of its competitor Schlumberger (NYSE: SLB) are up by just 3%. Does that make SLB stock a better pick over BKR? Both companies provide oil field services including drilling & completion and production solutions to upstream oil & gas companies in the U.S. and abroad. Due to lower benchmark price expectations in the long term, SLB and BKR incurred sizable impairment charges in 2020.
However, the recent uptick in the oil benchmark due to strong demand, supply constraints by the OPEC, and economic sanctions on Russia, have increased demand for oil rigs across the world. Given Baker Hughes’s lower financial leverage, comparable topline to Schlumberger, and a low valuation multiple, Trefis believes that the stock is a good pick to realize more gains.
We compare a slew of factors such as historical revenue growth, returns, and valuation multiple in an interactive dashboard analysis, Baker Hughes vs. Schlumberger: With Return Forecast Of 109%, Baker Hughes Is A Better Bet
1. Revenue Growth
Baker Hughes has observed a lower decline in revenues in recent years as compared to Schlumberger. Baker Hughes revenues observed an annual decline of 4% from $22.8 billion in 2018 to $20.5 billion in 2021, whereas Schlumberger reported an annual decline of 11% from $32.8 billion in 2018 to $22.9 billion in 2021. Top line contraction has largely been due to a decline in rig count figures and capital control measures implemented by upstream companies.
Schlumberger’s four operating segments, Digital & Integration, Reservoir Performance, Well Construction, and Production Systems contribute 12%, 28%, 36%, and 24% of total revenues, respectively. The uncertain demand environment had persuaded upstream companies to limit capital expenses in the last two years. However, the surge in benchmark prices due to the Russia-Ukraine war has rekindled demand for oil field services – taking worldwide rig count figures from 1,521 in December 2021 to 1,850 at present. Moreover, the company’s digital solutions business is likely to assist margin expansion in the coming years.
Baker Hughes’ four operating segments, Oilfield Services, Oilfield Equipment, Turbomachinery & Process Solutions, and Digital Solutions contribute 47%, 12%, 31%, and 10% of total revenues, respectively. The company’s international operations have been assisting the top line in recent times, which observed a 10% contraction from pre-pandemic levels and contributes 80% of total revenues.
After reporting relatively flat revenues for FY2021, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger are expected to observe strong growth in FY2022. (related: How Does Schlumberger Make Money?)
As both companies incurred sizable impairment charges leading to 25% contraction of the balance sheet, we compare their cash generation capabilities. In 2021, Schlumberger generated $4.6 billion of operating cash from $22.9 billion in total revenues – implying an operating cash flow margin of 20%. Whereas Baker Hughes reported $20.5 billion in total revenues and $2.3 billion of operating cash flow – resulting in a margin of 11%.
Schlumberger’s cash generation capabilities have been stronger than Baker Hughes which has resulted in a sizable difference in the P/S ratio. In 2021, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes’ P/S multiple was 1.5 and 1.2 respectively. Historically, it has been observed that there is a difference of 0.5 units between Schlumberger and Baker Hughes.
However, the difference between Schlumberger’s non-cash depreciation charges and capital expenditures was higher than Baker Hughes – affecting the operating cash flow margin figures.
Before the pandemic, Schlumberger returned 50% of operating cash to shareholders as dividends and invested 30% in property, plant & equipment as capital expenses.
Whereas, Baker Hughes had been investing its operating cash in capital assets.
Both companies implemented cash control measures and limited capital expenses as well as dividend payouts due to the pandemic. Given Schlumberger’s higher cash generation capabilities and historical dividend trends, it is a good pick to earn consistent dividend income.
Per annual filings, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes reported $13 billion and $6.7 billion of long-term debt, respectively. While a shrinking asset base due to impairment charges is a drag on shareholder returns, Baker Hughes’ lower financial leverage is a boon during uncertain times.
Higher financial leverage coupled with continued revenue growth augments equity returns. However, interest expenses weigh on finances as revenues decline – limiting dividend payouts and capital expenses.
Schlumberger’s higher financial leverage compared to Baker Hughes, despite similar revenues and a comparable balance sheet size, makes SLB stock a riskier bet.
In 2021, Schlumberger and Baker Hughes’ total assets were $41 billion and $35 billion, respectively.
What if you’re looking for a more balanced portfolio instead? Here’s a high-quality portfolio that’s beaten the market consistently since the end of 2016.
U.S. oil field services company Baker Hughes said Saturday that it was suspending new investments for its Russia operations, a day after similar moves were announced by rivals Halliburton Co. and Schlumberger.
The steps from the Houston, Texas-based businesses come as they respond to U.S. sanctions over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In its statement, Baker Hughes, which also has headquarters in London, said the company is complying with applicable laws and sanctions as it fulfills current contractual obligations. It said the announcement follows an internal decision made with its board and shared with its top leadership team.
“The crisis in Ukraine is of grave concern, and we strongly support a diplomatic solution,” said Lorenzo Simonelli, chairman and CEO of Baker Hughes. Halliburton announced Friday that it suspended future business in Russia. Halliburton said it halted all shipments of specific sanctioned parts and products to Russia several weeks ago and that it will prioritize safety and reliability as it winds down its remaining operations in the country.
Schlumberger said that it had suspended investment and technology deployment to its Russia operations. “Safety and security are at the core of who we are as a company, and we urge a cessation of the conflict and a restoration of safety and security in the region,” Schlumberger CEO Olivier Le Peuch said in a statement.
Oil companies ExxonMobil, Shell, and BP, along with some major tech companies like Dell and Facebook, were among the first to announce their withdrawal or suspension of operations. Many others, including McDonald’s, Starbucks and Estee Lauder, followed. Roughly 30 companies remain.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday asked Congress to press U.S. businesses still operating in Russia to leave, saying the Russian market is “flooded with our blood.”
When looking for technologies that are secure and remove a middleman/broker from the execution of your business plan, thus reducing the cost to your customers or decrease in your margin, distributed ledger technology (DLT) could be an option.
Blockchain is just one in an array of tools in the technical class of DLT. DLT is the roll-up technology class; it’s on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network using a consensus protocol among all the peers partaking in the DLT, eliminating the need for a clearinghouse involvement. Each peer or endpoint is called a node on a public database called the chain.
The chain itself is validated by the P2P network nodes, but the detailed data is securely stored in the block. First, there is a block of origin, and then each block is recorded as a transaction level, and the computers on the peer-to-peer network work as one. The blocks are validated by a wider community rather than a central authority. This makes it more secure and less costly in the long term.
Many have no idea when to apply DLT technologies — and to be fair, there are still very few market applications that exist outside of the crypto exchange use cases. That said, DLTs can become game-changers, as they provide a transaction-based, validated, decentralized, single-distributed ledger as well as smart contracts and crypto-assets, including currencies in certain competitive niches once they have been identified like NFTs.
They could also create a transformative effect that enables new ways of doing business that have not emerged to date. Do not underestimate the cost savings of eliminating or preventing the need for a middleman in many business models. It could help to make sense of ways of doing business that never made sense in the past.Below are two examples from my experience.
Counterfeit drugs are a complex issue in healthcare. The supply chain in pharma is negatively affected by counterfeit activities, as it leads to manipulated and artificially inflated or deflated prices. The current siloed supply chain has no way to keep counterfeit drugs out of the supply.
While there are fewer counterfeit drugs in the supply chain in the U.S. than elsewhere, having no way to monitor origins of supply can lead to unregulated and inconsistent drugs (which could be dangerous to patients) as well as losses for companies that follow regulatory guidelines and legal drug supply to the healthcare sector.
A peer-to-peer protocol like DLT technologies/blockchain could help provide a cryptographically secure, distributed private ledger that tracks each supplied drug within the supply chain through traceable and verifiable smart contracts at a discrete transactional level. To put it simply, theft, entry of counterfeit drugs and drugs that are being sold after their expiration date would be traceable.
Also, the movement of drugs and supplies to other countries post-expiration date for philanthropic purposes could be more easily traced to their next destination, and the exact use or recipient could be documented. If you can trace the origin block and the nodes within, the DLT peer-to-peer network can validate the transactions, which would allow for tighter control on what is entering the pharmaceutical drug supply.
Ever wonder where your food came from and how fresh it is — especially those prepackaged lifesaving boxes of ingredients that many of us have been ordering to increase the variety of our kitchen skills and culinary repertoire?
With all of the transformative effects of the recent pandemic and digital purchasing of foods from remote locations through national delivery services straight to the consumer’s home, having the assurance of the origin of the foods, their transport length and chain-of-custody proof would give us all the confidence in who supplied and distributed them and how it was done.
It could also prevent the ingesting of something hazardous or unsafe due to delays from farm to table. We have all heard stories of farmers and agricultural businesses struggling to turn a profit. By leveraging a peer-to-peer network like in blockchain, it could prevent data manipulation, ensuring an increase in food and agricultural supply chain trust.
During the height of Covid-19, before the variants began to emerge, I participated in think-tank activities associated with Operation Warp Speed — the mechanism in which the development of vaccines was funded and distributed through partnerships between biomedical companies and numerous agencies within the federal government.
Many interesting conversations on vaccination transport weaknesses and supply chain vulnerabilities were had. These conversations shed a light on ineffective transport practices.
Through this experience, I believe blockchain could be leveraged to connect serial data points from the point of origin (e.g., organic certifications, chemicals used with barcodes, batch identifying information, and when and who the supply was released to for transport).
In transport, Bluetooth thermostats for drug and food temperatures as well as livestock monitoring for the humane treatment of the animals being transported could contribute to checkpoints in the blockchain of things like farm to table.
You can begin to imagine all of the transformative things that could be done with blockchain, as the immutable (unmodifiable, undeniable, peer-to-peer secure) data about what we are purchasing and the companies we support could help reduce waste and cruelty as well as the costs that are built into our supply development and distribution.
Encouraging technology for the sake of technology is never advised. However, any business model reliant on intermediaries that require handoffs in the production-to-consumer chain they do not control or that need secure and reliable data across an ecosystem that is not under the organization’s direct control would benefit from this technology.