IBM Blockchain App for Sustainable Coffee

IBM Blockchain App “Thank My Farmer” Aims to Tackle Coffee Traceability

IBM Blockchain in collaboration with traceability platform Farm Connect is planning to bring a new app “Thank My Farmer” into the mainstream. As a result, consumers will have the power to track their morning joe from the store where they buy coffee beans to the farm where it was grown. The app uses IBM’s blockchain efficiently and may launch sooner this year. The news first comes into media attention at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES2020) in Las Vegas. This is surely a consumer-facing provenance app which will tackle traceability in the farm-to-store journey.

“Thank My Farmer”: An Innovative IBM Blockchain App

The app significantly uses IBM’s blockchain technology to allow coffee drinkers to trace their coffee. At the same time, it supports the farmer who grew the beans. It will pull information directly from the blockchain to present information around farmers, roasters, and brands. The same technology IBM Food Trust is using for years. The “Thank My Farmer” app also offer information on sustainability projects in coffee communities, and an option for consumers to support them.

Similarly, the app helps consumers interested in supporting sustainable coffee businesses to make informed choices. It can be used in particular to promote ethical and eco-friendly coffee suppliers.

The companies cited research – albeit from 2017 – by the Rainforest Alliance which argued two in three millennial consumers preferred to buy coffee which was sustainably grown and responsibly sourced. However, the founder and president of Farmer Connect, David Behrends, said in a statement that the aim was to create a virtuous cycle with consumers playing an active role in sustainability governance.

The Initiative Isn’t New; But the Thought Is

Food traceability and provenance as part of the supply chain remains one of the most enduring use cases for blockchain technologies. Douglas Horn, Chief Architect at Telos, says the paradigm has changed from companies building ‘inherently private and permissioned’ solutions to going as far as possible the other way. The comments come at the Blockchain Expo Europe event last year. Hence the virtuous cycle. Indeed,  coffee can be seen as a standout use case with its defined processes and geographics.

The Indian Commerce Ministry in April 2019 has launched a blockchain-based coffee e-marketplace. On the other hand, Starbucks is experimenting with Microsoft’s blockchain to focus more on customer experience. So, the “Thank My Farmer” project isn’t the first initiative using blockchain to make the coffee supply chain transparent.

Besides, there’s a great thought behind the project “Thank My Farmer”. The app will have a QR code on the side of the coffee jar to scan. This will enable consumers to look at the origins of the coffee while getting the option to make additional payments to the farmers who grew the beans. Undoubtedly, the project is another example of how emerging blockchain technology can enable a channel for real change.

Blockchain Technology Goes Beyond the World of Crypto

Blockchain technology is more than just an aspirational business tech. The use nowadays transforms how people can build trust in the goods they consume. It can drive greater transparency and efficiency for businesses. Though “Thank My App” is initially available for selected brands in Europe and North America, IBM has plans to expand it further.

Currently, the app is yet to receive other initiatives. IBM’s general manager for blockchain services, Jason Kelly, says “CES is the best platform to showcase more blockchain technology. The technology is driving real business value today for enterprises and consumers. And, this is the best time it goes beyond the world of crypto”

IBM is seeing blockchain act as a catalyst for AI, IoT, and automation across the industry at large.

What do you guys think? Will this app able to achieve the aim and vision? Comment below!