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Transparency with Trust: Protecting the Answers to the 4Ps of Commercial Trust

4Ps of Commercial Trust: People, Places, Processes, and Products

2020 taught us all that supply chains matter. Obvious. How to manage them with the right level of transparency - Not so obvious. Even when we break it down to the 4 basic questions we have about products;

  1. What is it?

  2. Where did it come from?

  3. How was it made?

  4. Who made it?

They all seem easy to answer on the surface. But what if you had to swear under oath all of your claims about the product were to face investigation from the supply chain police. Insert <your industries’ regulatory body>, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, etc. The only way to answer these questions with certainty is to gain visibility into the supply chain. Yet, a recent Deloitte survey estimated only 15% of CPO’s have visibility beyond their tier one suppliers. And when we think of the complexity of the global supply chains and our products, how is it that companies can “claim” what they do about their product’s credentials if they have no visibility and no evidence deep in the supply chain? This has been best illustrated, recently, by the fake jet engine parts scandal. In this era of great power competition, supply chain visibility and commercial trust are paramount to our industrial mobilization.

The most common visibility objections we hear are “data privacy” and “intellectual property protection”; followed very closely by “incentives” – what compels someone to voluntarily share their data? Fortunately, there are inclusive methods to gather and protect the data through crypto-economic incentives and crypto-graphic encryption techniques.

First, there must be a data architecture philosophy. Simply stated:

Data is property owned by its creator. Data is not shared without expressed, intentional, situational consent in exchange for consideration.

This philosophy adheres to the principles of property ownership enshrined in our constitution, codified into tort law, and embraces the W3 definition of selective disclosure for verifiable credentials. Simply stated: the owner of the data chooses and controls who gets to see or access the data.

Second, there must be a common framework for claims and evidence (the data). Let’s define: “Verifiable credentials can represent information found in physical credentials, such as a passport or license, as well as new things that have no physical equivalent, such as ownership of a bank account….They have numerous advantages over physical credentials, most notably that they're digitally signed, which makes them tamper-resistant and instantaneously verifiable. Verifiable credentials can be issued by anyone, about anything, and can be presented to and verified by everyone.” Souce: Wikipedia.

Simply put: verifiable credentials are claims supported by evidence.

In a recent post – The 4Ps of Commercial Trust – I posited the 4 elements of commercial trust: the verifiable credentials of the People, Places, Processes, and Products that make up our supply chain.

Claims made about the 4Ps include:

People – I am; I am a citizen of X; I have these qualifications & clearances

Places – our facility is at X,Y location; it is ITAR compliant, SQF Compliant

Processes – we use ISO quality processes, we are CMMC certified

Third, there must be a common framework by which this data is gathered, encrypted/protected, and shared. This is the work we are doing through C-STAR™and the Commercial Trust™ Protocol (CTP).

The widespread distrust of companies, brands, products, certifications, and oversight bodies can be solved using the verifiable credentials of the 4Ps. Come join the trust & transparency revolution.


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