Beyond the Blockchain: out-of-the-box thinking
In the summer of 2018, Agriterra – the Dutch organization for expert advice to and support of farmer organizations worldwide – published its magazine called ‘Beyond the Blockchain. Out-of-the-box thinking by agri-companies, development cooperations and tech startups.’ The magazine highlights business opportunities for small-scale farmers in developing countries based on blockchain technology.
Cryptocurrency vs. traditional finance
Spore magazine has published an article on alternative finance platforms based on the blockchain. It writes that FinComEco, a fintech company aiming to build a ‘farmer-centred ecosystem across Africa to open new financing channels for rural communities’, and its partner Blockchain Commodities, a blockchain-focused commodities trader, believe that blockchain technology ‘and the coins and tokens developed out of that’ could serve as a ‘fast, low-cost alternative to traditional finance’.
Blockchain for development
GSMA for Development has published a report featuring short case studies on four blockchain platforms that are being used ‘to improve people’s access to self-sovereign identities, bring new levels of transparency to the distribution of international aid, and improve the efficiency of humanitarian cash transfers’. The report aims to shed light on how mobile network operators may ‘be able to support and derive value from future “blockchain for development projects”.’
In October 2017, the potential for the blockchain was discussed at a CTA workshop. The link below will take to you the workshop conclusions.
A BBC article shows how digital and blockchain technology is allowing ‘farmers and smallholders’ to discover ‘new ways of doing business’. The article cites an interesting example in Russia, where the inhabitants of Kolionovo have started using a cryptocurrency called the kolion, developed by a ‘local banker-turned farmer’. Initially he issued paper kolions to circumvent ‘the 12% interest charged by the banks he approached for a loan’. But the banks banned the currency, so he started developing a ‘cryptocurrency version’.
Proof of concept
Wageningen University and Research’s pilot study entitled ‘Blockchain for Agriculture and Food’
presents findings from the ‘Blockchain for Agrifood’ project, which aims ‘to contribute to a better understanding of the blockchain technology and its implications for agrifood’. It also aims to develop ‘a proof of concept in an application based on a use case concerning table grapes from South Africa’ where blockchain technology would be used.
According to the Smallholder Farmers Alliance, ‘Haiti is on the cutting edge’ of testing blockchain technology ‘with the announcement of a Blockchain Cotton Project that will benefit the country’s smallholder farmers’. The project aims to reintroduce cotton into Haiti after ‘a 30-year absence’. Field trials have been held with different varieties of cotton using organic principles and are being cultivated on a large scale this summer. Major buyers have shown interest in the cotton, such as Timberland, Vans and Patagonia.
Blockchain Africa Conference 2019
Hosted by Bitcoin Events, the Blockchain Africa Conference 2019 will take place in Johannesburg from 28 February to 1 March and in Cape Town on 6 March. Tickets go on sale on 1 September 2018. The aim of Bitcoin Events’ conferences is to ‘move Africa forward’ and ‘educate people by sharing insights into cryptocurrencies’ and blockchain technology’s revolutionary opportunities in Africa especially’. The conferences four main themes are ‘embracing blockchain’, ‘use cases’, ‘regulatory environment’ and ‘technology hurdles’.
Five African use cases
IDG Connect, which ‘produces, publishes and distributes local IT and business information’, has published a list of five blockchain use cases in Africa. They include land management through Kenya’s Land LayBy; reviving trade corridors with Binkabi in Nigeria, for example; tracing cobalt mining using Dorae in the Democratic Republic of Congo; creating a coffee supply chain in Ethiopia; and raising funds for community projects in Kenya.
From bait to plate
Ever wonder where your tuna comes from? Blockchain technology is going to strengthen tuna traceability to fight illegal fishing. The Conversation, an independent, not-for-profit media platform that uses information derived from researchers and academia, published an article a pilot project launched in January 2018 in the Pacific Islands tuna industry that uses ‘blockchain technology to track the journey of tuna from “bait to plate”. The aim is to help stop illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and human rights abuses in the tuna industry.’
Africa Blockchain Lab
Gabriella Mulligan of Disrupt Africa – a blog providing information for start-up entrepreneurs in the technology sector – writes that ‘Nigerian state-backed innovation hub KAD-ICT Hub and UK blockchain company Coinfirm have launched the Africa Blockchain Lab in Kaduna, aiming to bring together blockchain companies building solutions for Africa’. The lab provides a platform for entrepreneurs ‘building blockchain-based products and services relevant to African economies’.
To blockchain or not to blockchain
‘The Suichies model,’ writes Michiel Mulders, ‘is a great start to help you decide if your project or idea requires the use of blockchain technology.’ He says that by answering several questions you will end up with four possible results: public blockchain, hybrid blockchain, private blockchain, or don’t use blockchain. Find out for yourself…