Project Empower – Part 3: BeefLegends & Project Demos

We continue our deep-dive into Project Empower. In this Part, we look at the journey so far in our Project Demos. As the name suggests, this Project is focused on the interaction of the blockchain and the digital realm with what happens ‘on the ground’ amongst people and with people. For us, this has meant opening up opportunities to explore:

  • Skills and capacities in regional communities involved in the production of foods;
  • The digital jobs of the 21st century, which add value to traditional food systems and at the same time create new value flow opportunities for people near and far;
  • The need to strike the right balance between the world of computers and machines on the one hand, and the importance of people in our socio-economic ecosystems on the other; and
  • Ways of taking the pain out of interacting with the blockchain.

In exploring and addressing these issues, we’ve worked with our team of research collaborators at QUT, led by Professor Marcus Foth and doctoral researcher Jock McQueenie, to design and implement iterations of what Jock called BeefLegends.


BeefLegends was designed around what Jock has described as the “3Cs”, where commerce, community and creative intertwine to create new models of value creation and transfer.

Mike Famularo, from Blue Lake Station, features in videos showing the credentialed journey of beef from South Australia to Beijing

Iteration 1: Our first iteration was to explore the role of digital creative capacity and narrative building from the point of view of the producer community. Here, we worked closely with students from Mt Gambier High in South Australia’s Limestone Coast. A project was designed though which students created digital content “telling the story” of locally produced beef (from Blue Lake Station), and the stories of those involved in the production. 

With the support of creative digital professionals, a video was produced incorporating the narrative structure developed by the students. As part of the process, a pedagogical model was being developed that would cultivate the skills and capacities of people in regional communities that linked these skills to the traditional industries of a region.

Mt Gambier High students interviewing Chef Su, President of the Changshu Culinary Association

Iteration 2: The video was incorporated into BeefLedger’s research and development activities in the China market. Here, consumers and other buyers were able to scan the BeefLedger Smart Fingerprint (powered by Laava) and access a range of data about the product. Some of this data was authenticated on the BeefLedger Proof of Authority Network. Amongst the data, a short video could be directly viewed from the smartphone.

Iteration 3: So far, this work has been largely “one directional”. In the course of the research collaboration with QUT, we have also explored more complex “value loops” where consumers are prosumerised as creators of digital content value themselves. New iterations of two-way engagement and communications between producer and consumer communities has thus begun to unfold. This is nascent work at the moment, and COVID19 has been disruptive to progressing the interactions. However, there’s been little doubt that we have been breaking new ground in ways in which digital narratives operate as a ‘data glue’ that enables the flow of information value throughout a supply chain ecosystem.

Jock McQueenie discusses digital value circuits with the team from Liberty Post in Beijing.

Striking New Balances

Our design philosophy has also been human-centric. That means thinking carefully about the ways in which technologies can be mobilised by human communities to:

  • Empower communities as a whole to drive more sustainable and functional socio-economic ecosystems;
  • Create greater value by shortening supply chains and reducing the risks and costs associated with information asymmetry; and
  • Transform supply chain behaviours by creating systems of agency-based responsibility and accountability for the making and authentication of credence claims.

In some respects, we’ve been drawn to the approaches to ‘governing the commons’ first described by Ostrom in her research. As shown in the diagram here, there are clear applications of Ostrom’s principles to the design and operationalisation of the BeefLedger information and supply chain ecosystem.

Technologies can play a vital role in empowering communities and shortening supply chains. But these must be embedded in human-centric dynamics that serve to empower and enlist. Passive and non-reflective dependency on third-party devices is anathema to functional communities.

Taking out the Pain

There is little doubt that the world of blockchains and cryptocurrencies involves challenges for many people. That’s to be expected when blockchain’s decentralisation ethos fundamentally enables – and requires – people to become the masters of their own data administration. In other words, there’s a strong DIY element to setting up and managing accounts (usually called wallets), getting your head around new terminology (public private keys and such like), not to mention clunky user interfaces.

Admittedly the BeefLedger team has been very much function over form in its approaches to date. And so, we have only just begun to scratch the surface of taking out the pain for people to engage in blockchain-enabled communities and ecosystems.

We’ve integrated secure email login (with Magic.Link) in a global first deployment to an Ethereum Proof of Authority network.


One little step forward has been the incorporation of email-based secure login systems for the Proof of Authority network. We believe our application of Magic.Key technologies to our POA environment is a world first. The next step is to deploy this same login across the various elements of the BeefLedger ecosystem and allied environments.

Community Partnerships in Project Development

On the back of all of this, we’re working now on a number of initiatives that will open up pathways for communities to more actively participate in projects as capital partners. A range of development partnership products will soon be released, including opportunities for aggregated purchasing, pre-purchasing, secured lending and equity investments in collateralised securities.

We call these Community Development Partnerships, as in the end, what we have designed is an ecosystem that anchors all players in a supply chain in a common set of interests – underpinned by an information architecture that everyone has responsibilities towards and can depend upon.

All of this is a work in progress. We have come a long way but there’s still a long way to go.

Project Demos keeps us grounded in ensuring that whatever it is that we are working on, we ensure we have the human front and centre of our design ethos. And so, while it’s far from perfect, we don’t ever let perfection become the enemy of the good.

The next Part will discuss our approaches to decentralised finance and its integration to the supply chain.