Soon You’ll Tip the Farmer Who Made Your Coffee Possible

In America, we are lucky enough to have the freedom to voice our opinions. We can band together and take a stand for or against something that we think needs to change. Like … coffee, for example.

I’m going to go ahead and say it. Kudos to the Millennials and coffee connoisseurs who are standing up for their beliefs by demanding transparency for the sourcing of their coffee and its origin. They care where their coffee comes from and they are willing to pay for — and drive — supply chain transparency. (For the record, I cannot take credit for being a Millennial, but I can take credit for being a connoisseur.)

Coffee is in the top two of the world’s most traded commodities, making up a $150 billion market. Yet, the supply chain remains archaic and a bit murky. And even though global coffee demand is rising, bean-growers in developing countries still must accept low prices and slow payment for their goods. On a personal level, I’d like to see them get rewarded for giving me that delicious daily jolt that I love.

Enter in blockchain technology. I touched upon it last year, but it now exists as a real-life case study conducted by bext360 for me to share. The case study demonstrates how blockchain could potentially overhaul standard business practices, and more impressively – an industry. Every industry.

bext360 completed pilots that analyzed and tracked coffee from California and Uganda. This trial helped to eliminate many supply chain inefficiencies while at the same time provided full transparency at every step of the coffee’s journey. To do this they used machine vision, AI and the Internet of Things combined with blockchain. (It really is my new favorite word.)

Today, the current process for certifying coffee is very costly; it requires inspectors to examine the product at every step of the supply chain to verify the coffee product is what it claims to be. Certification papers move along with the coffee from one stop to the next. Relocating this data to the blockchain eliminates this expensive and sometimes false paper trail.

In the bext360 trial, tokens were created that represented the commodity value at the first level. As the coffee continued its processing journey and became “green” for example, then the old token would get replaced with a new one (for green), assuring the quality of the delivered product. This is groundbreaking in many ways.

If you are wondering how this benefits the farmers, this is where it really gets interesting. All stakeholders throughout the supply chain would own tokens, making paying and collecting from one another seamless and easy. Using the same technology platform, bext360 claims that we will be able to tip coffee farmers directly for coffee that was purchased at our local neighborhood shop. Not only can we tip, but through blockchain, we’ll actually be able to see that the funds were appropriately given to the farmer who worked so hard “sowing the (coffee) seeds of love.”

As I stated before, the concept might not mean much at the moment, but blockchain is coming soon to blow up our traditional supply chain processes. The possibilities of how it will change our world will be beyond anything most of us can imagine with today’s technology.

Now, it’s time for my second cup o’ Joe.