Recently, IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest computer which can slip through a salt shaker and help, prevent the $600bn a year trade in counterfeit drugs, gadgets, and cash.

The company has announced this new microcomputer at its Think conference, further predicting that it would play a significant role in a blockchain network, specially designed to monitor fraud in global supply chains.

This microscopic computer is one square millimeter in size and would also act as a so-called ‘crypto-anchor’ in anti-fraud systems.

IBM further added that the devices cost just 10 cents to manufacture, containing “several hundred thousand transistors, storage, power, and communications capabilities all packed into a footprint about the size of a grain of salt”.


However, right now, IBM hasn’t revealed specifications for the computer yet, but a source close to this stated that each of the devices is as powerful as an x86 chip from the 1990s.

IBM researchers at the Thomas J Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, NY, would be also detailing the computers in a forthcoming paper. In the meantime, IBM has also offered a rough outline of the computer’s schematics.

IBM further added here that, the dramatic fall in cost and size of the computers would also make it possible to integrate them into products to ensure that the goods are authentic as they move through the supply chain and on to consumers.

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The tiny solar-powered computers IBM designed would be embedded in products, depending on LED lights to communicate with a network. Businesses that could ensure and prove the authenticity of each product or component with one of IBM’s computers in it.

IBM also added that the first of these tiny computers could be available for customers within 18 months. Thus, this sees them playing a role in food safety, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, genetically modified goods, expensive wines, and in the luxury goods market.

This has its build upon the existing crypto-anchor systems based on an optical structure that can be placed on product labels and also used as digital fingerprints.