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Mastercard partners with GrainChain for blockchain food traceability


Today Mastercard announced its partnership with agricultural blockchain firm GrainChain. With Mastercard’s proprietary blockchain ‘Provenance’, the two firms aim to create digital records of commodities throughout supply chains in Central America, Mexico, and the U.S.

Agritech firm GrainChain, which is backed by Overstock’s Medici Ventures, is best known for its blockchain solution targeting the Honduras coffee industry, a country where 20% of the population is employed in the sector. Its offering enables settlement and traceability. 

With Provenance, participants will be able to ‘forensically track’ these commodities, with the blockchain technology authenticating the produce. This way brands and farmers are able to protect both consumers and their reputation. 

“The traceability market is a global industry, and the digital identity of products and goods is even more critical today as consumers, brands, and governments demand to know where products and services are from,” said Deborah Barta, Senior VP of Mastercard’s Innovation and Startup Engagement.

Luis Macias, CEO and Founder of GrainChain, claims the partnership will improve the supply chain in the Americas. “Small suppliers in countries around the world suffer from a lack of reliable real-time information and deserve transparency, accountability, and profitability with streamlined global trade,” he said.

GrainChain initially adopted Hyperledger Fabric for its blockchain technology. Seven months ago, it said it was switching to Symbiont’s Assembly. In response to our queries about using Mastercard’s technology, GrainChain said they were “extremely happy” with Symbiont’s Assembly and were using it for mission-critical use cases in financial services.

“Our partnership with Mastercard is for provenance and traceability,” said GrainChain Marketing Director, Tom DeRosa. “Our goal with Mastercard is to provide trusted end-to-end visibility for commodities, and the ability to authenticate its origin. GrainChain is an industry-agnostic platform and we have chosen the best technologies on the market to globally scale.” 

Meanwhile, Mastercard has fully embraced blockchain and distributed ledger technology. This is not the first time Mastercard has partnered with an agritech firm either. Last year, it announced the partnership with Envisible to integrate Provenance with Envisible’s food traceability system, Wholechain. 

Outside of agritech, Mastercard recently announced the launch of a central bank digital currency (CBDC) testing platform. The platform will allow central banks to evaluate use cases and test roll-out strategies by simulating a CBDC ecosystem such as CBDC issuance, distribution, and exchange. Mastercard is also exploring digital identity solutions, joining the ID2020 Alliance in May this year. The Alliance was founded by Accenture, Microsoft, Gavi, Rockefeller Foundation and IDEO. 

Update: The GrainChain response about technologies was added

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