GrainChain, a keiretsu company of Medici Ventures, the blockchain subsidiary of Overstock.com (OSTK.Q), has been honoured as one of the 18 finalists of Fast Company’s 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards in the Food category.
These awards are given out to the businesses, policies, projects and concepts most actively engaged in deeply committed to resolving issues such as the climate crisis, social injustice or economic inequality.
“We believe that technology tools can build agricultural industries and help improve conditions for farmers around the world. Our blockchain and IoT products give farmers, shippers and buyers a single, reliable platform that encourages reinvestment and improves quality across the entire supply chain,” said Luis Macias, CEO of GrainChain.
Small scale farmers run into some curious obstacles when it comes to getting their crops to market and getting paid. The process of getting paid from corporate customers—companies that buy field crops in bulk—is neither fast nor straightforward and comes with its own hazards for everyone involved. Crops must be closely evaluated from quality, which is often a slow and arduous process and can cause delays to the release of funds. And that’s if there’s no dispute regarding what the parties agreed to, and what transaction actually occurred, resulting in discrepancies in product cost or quality.
After that, farmers get to struggle to accelerate cash cycles, and often the finance that would traditionally support a seller’s cash flow is unavailable as plenty of financial institutions are unwilling to underwrite this high-risk industry.
This is a problem for farmers in both developed and undeveloped markets, because this financial tension threatens the survival of their businesses.
“There is a common denominator across all regions and socioeconomic scale: Liquidity is important when it comes to farming. Harvest season is usually when farmers spend their capital, and timely payments is crucial, but the time to get paid is extremely varied depending on who you’re selling to. Even the best payers can delay payment,” said Luis Macias, found and CEO of GrainChain.
GrainChain uses its suite of blockchain-based and IoT products to give farmers access to their commodities via mobile apps. Farmers can see their inventory in real-time and make decisions in the field. GrainChain’s platform includes a digital wallet—allowing both remote and unbanked farmers to apply for loans—and smart contracts to further improve traceability and operational logistics for both vendors and buyers.
The platform counteracts fraud and corruption with certification and accountability, and it streamlines procedures for all participants in the commodities market. The GrainChain platform creatures a digital yet secure record of commodity data and transactions, and stores it safely, courtesy of its blockchain infrastructure.
“There seems no better time to recognize organizations that are using their ingenuity, resources, and, in some cases, their scale to tackle society’s biggest problems. Our journalists, under the leadership of senior editor Morgan Clendaniel, have uncovered some of the smartest and most inspiring projects of the year,” said Stephanie Mehta, editor-in-chief of Fast Company.
The World Changing Ideas Awards has been going on now for four years, and has showcased 26 winners with more than 200 finalists and 500+ honourable mentions. The most popular categories have been health and wellness, corporate social responsibility and AI and Data. A panel of judges select winners and finalists from a pool of more than 3,000 entries across transportation, education, food, politics, technologies and more. The 2020 World Changing Ideas Awards featured entries from across the globe including Vancouver to Singapore to Tel Aviv.