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Overstock invests $5m in agriculture commodity blockchain GrainChain

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Agricultural commodity blockchain platform GrainChain recently raised $8.2 million in a round led by Medici Ventures, the investment arm of Medici contributed $5 million, with additional investment from Eden Block and other investors. 

With the latest round, GrainChain’s total funding amounts to $10.7 million. Medici Ventures previously invested $2.5 million in the blockchain firm for 10% of the equity. However, the company did not disclose its current ownership stake. 

GrainChain enables easy and secure payments between suppliers and farmers and provides traceability for commodities. The platform uses smart contracts to secure funds during a transaction. It makes this possible by using the Internet of Things (IoT) devices, which can monitor things such as weight and temperature of the agricultural products. 

Founded in 2013, Texas-based GrainChain went into production in early 2019 and has since processed over 5 billion pounds of commodities. Its current participant count is 1,439, who have carried out about 84,000 transactions using the platform.

“GrainChain’s work in reducing the time and spoilage associated with agricultural transactions, while also driving down frictional costs for both farmers and buyers is a shining example of Medici Ventures’ mission to democratize capital, eliminate middlemen, and re-humanize commerce through the use of blockchain technology,” said Jonathan Johnson, Overstock CEO and Medici Ventures President.

Using GrainChain, farmers get better control over to whom they sell, and thus a better price for their produce by eliminating middlemen. On the other hand, buyers get a pool of farmers to buy from, easing the procurement aspect. By leveraging blockchain, GrainChain is able to reduce fraud and corruption by IoT tracking and certification on the blockchain.

A few months ago, a few coffee producers from Honduras signed up to use the GrainChain platform. The goal was to streamline and track transactions in the highly convoluted coffee supply chain.

Meanwhile, last month, Aussie blockchain firm AgriChain raised A$6 million ($4 million) from Cornerstone Growth Capital. The company has developed a blockchain supply chain management platform for agricultural products. It aims to connect growers, brokers, and logistics partners on a single platform. 

The Covantis consortium, formed by Agri firms Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bunge, Cargill, Glencore, and Louis Dreyfus, is working on digitizing transaction using blockchain. It recently selected ConsenSys as the technology partner.

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