Credit card and finance company Mastercard Inc. today announced a collaboration with GrainChain, a Texas company focused on distributed ledger blockchain infrastructure, that will provide farmers and suppliers better visibility into their supply chains while reducing risks to buyers in the U.S, Mexico and Central America.
Mastercard intends to use its industry-agnostic blockchain technology in combination with GrainChain’s already present supply chain blockchain infrastructure to create digital records for commodity data and thus extend Mastercard Provenance Solution’s influence into Central America.
“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 vice president of innovation and startup engagement at Mastercard.
This has become especially problematic with the COVID-19 pandemic, Barta said. Supply chains have suffered because workers have been forced to use social distancing, office workers now often work remotely and visit worksites less often, data is automated and manual checks are being automated more often than before. The result is that reliability must result in a great need to trust in the systems downstream and there is an increased requirement for reproducibility of provenance.
“With Mastercard Provenance Solution, we’re focused on helping parties benefit from reliable data, which brings efficiencies throughout supply chains, ultimately helping to protect consumers,” said Barta. “With our first partnership in Central America, the collaboration with GrainChain demonstrates our ability to scale globally and transform supply chains across new industries.”
That increased complexity and lack of visibility across global supply chains have made it increasingly difficult for brands to uphold standards and protect reputations.
With the help of GrainChain, the newly extended reach of Mastercard Provenance Solution will deliver end-to-end tracking and visibility throughout the supply chain. That should allow participants to track commodities forensically, from the initial inputs of raw materials to harvesting and processing – such as when they’re reaped from the fields and put into bags and placed onto trucks – to logistics and delivery all the way to the consumer’s hands.
“We’re leveling the playing field for the hard-working producers in North America and Latin America, giving them much more power and control over the process of producing and selling,” said Luis Macias, founder and chief executive of GrainChain. “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.
GrainChain is backed by OverStock’s Medici Ventures Inc. to the tune of $10.7 million as of March 2020, and it’s one of the most successful agriculture blockchain platforms on the market. It lives in a blockchain supply chain market with IBM’s Food Trust Network, which works to keep numerous different produce products safe from farm to dinner table including olive oil, romaine lettuce, Norwegian salmon and many other foods.
Although blockchain technology is still growing into the supply chain provenance industry, it continues to be tested as an underlying infrastructure to provide better efficiency and traceability at scale.
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