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China’s popular online retailer JD.com says sales of free-range chickens have doubled in the past two years, and blockchain technology has played a key role.

Its initiative for putting chickens on the blockchain, called “Running Chicken,” sees professional breeders hired by JD.com to tend to chickens.

Local farmers are also offered part-time jobs growing vegetables, fruit, and grain, as well as interest-free loans to spur growth.

JD.com has tracked free-range chickens using distributed ledger technology(DLT) since early 2018. This allowed customers to scan labels with smartphones to access detailed supply chain information, including diet, rearing process, and origin.

The system is designed to reduce the nation’s reliance on factory farmed poultry. JD.com’s initiative is also noted to have led to Wuyi County’s removal from China’s national poverty list.

“JD fits each chicken with a specially designed pedometer, with the aim of having each bird take one million steps during the rearing process,” a statement posted 11 April reads.

After the success of “Running Chicken,” JD.com says it has launched two similar programs – “Swimming Duck” in the Jiangsu Province, and “Flying Pigeon” in the Hebei Province.

There are loads more retailers using blockchain for tracing products. Indeed, major supermarket Auchan uses DLT to follow a wide-range of products around the world, while Dutch mainstay Albert Heijn put its orange juice on the blockchain last year.

French supermarket giant Carrefour also announced it had plans to “blockchainify” 20 percent of its products by 2020.

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