Rapid growth Of blockchain brings opportunity, change to agriculture
DENVER — As agribusiness interest increases and use-cases for blockchain technology become more prevalent, agriculture stands to benefit by lower transaction costs, optimized logistics, increased traceability, enhanced food and safety protocols, and potentially greater value creation across the supply chain, according to a report from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division.
Blockchain, which is an information storage technology that allows people to record transactions in a digitized, decentralized data log maintained on a network of computers, is already being put to use by major technology companies and some commodity merchandisers.
“This technology offers an opportunity for revolutionary change in food traceability, tracking of commodities and grain trading,” said Tanner Ehmke, manager of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The new uses of blockchain may be met with initial resistance, but those who break through and adopt the technology early stand to benefit the most.”
According to the report, the technology will force supply chain partners to adapt as interest grows in direct-to-farmer marketing channels.
“Tools to connect farmers to the agriculture supply chain via blockchain are already in the works,” Ehmke said. “Some of those developments have the ability to transfer the ownership of grain immediately.”
In the intermediate term, the adoption of blockchain by retailers and merchandisers could pressure others in the supply chain to utilize the technology. Over the long term, it could hasten bifurcation of the agricultural industry, where those who utilize the technology would increase their influence globally, and those who don’t could have access to fewer markets.