Říj 20

Crypto-Mergers and Acquisitions Increased by 200% in 2018

Institutional investors, venture capitalists, and other well-heeled entities “in the know” are using a year-long bear market to buy up future technologies for what might turn out to be pennies on the dollar.


It Takes Money to Make Money

Yesterday CNBC reported that most of  2018 has been a “deal frenzy” for cryptocurrency and blockchain-related companies as mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are reported to have increased by 200 percent. Pitchbook had JMP Securities crunch M&A data the results showed that by the end of 2018 there will have been 145 M&A deals.

The data is inclusive of majority investments, partial and full acquisitions but it does not pinpoint the exact dollar amount spent for each deal. JMP did mention that most of the M&As are “relatively small” as the sum is less than $100 million. The uptick in M&As took place as Bitcoin declined to trade nearly 53% below its January price.

Interestingly, buyers did not appear deterred by Bitcoin’s fall from $20,000 in January as the $830 billion dollar market capitalization began to disintegrate. In fact, according to Satya Bajpai, the head of blockchain and digital assets investment banking at JMP Securities, “You’re seeing a mispricing of assets.” Bajpai believes that the majority of crypto-startups have token values that “remain correlated to Bitcoin” and this phenomenon “can create an ideal opportunity for strategic acquirers.”

Crypto is an Investors Smorgasbord

Bajpai used the analogy of a “land grab” when describing how the rapid pace of growth and innovation in a new sector compels investors to buy up technology producers instead of attempting to build their own platform. Bajpai explained that “[The M&A route is] expensive, but you get the technology and product immediately. This industry is like a treadmill – the only way to keep up on a treadmill is to keep running by investing in new technology.”

The Ends Justifies the Means

Bajpai also pointed out that hasty acquisitions come with significant risks as a number of the companies scooped up during mergers and acquisitions are startups in infancy and have yet to prove themselves. Nonetheless, the uptick in mergers and acquisitions shows that many investors are willing to look past these issues as the potential for future returns could far outweigh these risks.  

What do you think about venture capitalists and institutions purchasing crypto-startups? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of JMP Securities, Shutterstock.

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Říj 18

Goldman Sachs and Mike Novogratz Invest in Cryptocurrency Startup BitGo

BitGo, a company which provides institutional-grade investors with compliance, security, and custodial solutions for cryptocurrencies has closed its Series B funding round bringing in $58.5 million. Goldman Sachs and Novogratz’ Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC contributed with $15 million of said amount.


Investing in a $1 Trillion Cryptocurrency Wallet

In an official release from today, BitGo disclosed that it has successfully finalized its Series B funding round, bringing in a total amount of $58.8 million USD.

The lineup of investors includes companies like Valor Equity Partners, Craft Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, DRW, and, most recently – Mike Novogratz’ Galaxy Digital Ventures LLC and Goldman Sachs’ Principal Strategic Investments Group.

According to Bloomberg, Novogratz and Goldman invested a total of $15 million in this round of funding. The money is designated to support BitGo’s development of a $1 trillion cryptocurrency wallet.

Notes BitGo CEO, Mike Belshe:

This strategic investment from Goldman Sachs and Galaxy Digital Ventures validates both our market opportunity and unique position. No one is better positioned than BitGo to serve institutional investors who want to trade cryptocurrencies and digital assets. That’s why we’re focused on figuring out what it takes to secure a trillion dollars. The market’s not there yet but our job is to be ready first.

Novogratz Backtracks

The former Goldman Sachs partner sat down with CNBC’s “Cryptotrader” Ran Neu-Ner in July, outlining that the next price rally will require a “custody from a trusting source.”

Novogratz

At the same time, the permabull was quite straightforward on his position regarding existing custodial solutions at the time, namely BitGo, saying:

If I’m at the state of Wisconsin, I’m not going to risk my job on a company called BitGo.

Speaking on his most recent multi-million dollar investment–in the company he had no confidence in just four months ago–Novogratz said:

We have been impressed with BitGo’s world class team, their deep technical understanding of digital assets as well as their ability to deliver institutional-quality products to investors. Our team is excited to support BitGo as it enters into this next phase of growth.

Bitcoin (BTC) price 00 remains unfazed by the positive news in what has been an auspicious week for cryptocurrency so far and amid rising Bitcoin futures volumes on the CME.

“Institutional movement into the space continues …,” commented Bitcoin entrepreneur Alan Silbert.

What do you think of Goldman Sachs’ and Galaxy Digital Ventures’ most recent investment in BitGo? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoinist archives

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Říj 17

EToro CEO: We’ll See ‘Greatest Transfer of Wealth Ever Onto the Blockchain’ [Interview]

Bitcoinist spoke with Yoni Assia, CEO of the largest social trading platform in the world eToro on their latest push to take cryptocurrency mainstream. 


Interview with eToro CEO, Yoni Assia

With over 10 million users globally, eToro has become a somewhat of a household name. It is also no secret that the company has been a big supporter of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for a few years now. Its logo is often seen alongside numerous cryptocurrencies almost everywhere in the UK and elsewhere.

etoro

Assia explained why eToro is so focused on raising cryptocurrency awareness, why regulation is important for mass adoption, and his opinion on ‘Bitcoin maximalism.’

Bitcoinist: You’ve just announced a significant cut in spreads on crypto-assets. Why did you decide to do this? User feedback or simply a way to make trading more affordable for the average person?

Yoni Assia: We cut our crypto spreads as part of our efforts to support the mass adoption of crypto.  We want to make it as easy as possible for investors to buy, hold and sell crypto and cutting spreads so clients keep more of their gain is one part of this.

Bitcoinist: What other bottlenecks to wide-scale user adoption currently exist in your opinion?

Yoni Assia: Currently, the level of understanding of crypto-assets is one of the barriers to wide-scale user adoption of, and investment in, crypto-assets. It’s a barrier that we’ve looked to address at eToro through building our community of traders and investors who can share their investment strategies and insights. From this, others are able to follow the approaches of those who have been the most successful. We also provide educational material and a virtual portfolio.

Other barriers for crypto center on the fact that this is still a very young asset class. Bitcoin, the first crypto, is still less than 10 years old. We believe that the challenges around scalability, speed, volatility etc will be solved over time.

Bitcoinist: Your platform has over 10 million users. Since the so-called bubble ‘popped’ in 2018 following the historic bull-run of late 2017, has your platform seen a drop in new user signups or the opposite?

New clients continue to join the eToro platform every day. Some come for crypto, others for the other more traditional asset classes we offer such as stocks and commodities or our CopyPortfolios. It is also interesting to note that many of the clients who were attracted to eToro by crypto have also diversified into other assets on the platform.

Bitcoinist: At current rates, can you give us an idea of how many users you expect to start trading crypto on your platform over the next few years?

Yoni Assia: While I can’t give you a number, we expect to continue to grow the number of users on the platform over the next few years. EToro is continuing to expand its global footprint, for example, we will be launching in the US later this year. Some people come to eToro for crypto, but we also offer a multitude of other asset classes.

Bitcoinist: What is the most popular cryptocurrency on eToro? Do you think this could change in the future?

Yoni Assia: The most popular crypto on eToro is XRP 00. I don’t have a crystal ball so I can’t predict the future. Our clients value diversification so we see interest in any new coins added to the platform.

Bitcoinist: Does a diversified crypto-asset portfolio still make sense given that Bitcoin has experienced the least bleeding relative to other cryptocurrencies?

Yoni Assia: Maintaining a diversified portfolio, both in terms of crypto-assets and in terms of wider assets, is a prudent way to invest regardless of market conditions or asset performance.

Bitcoinist: Etoro has signed numerous partnerships with major sports teams and pro athletes to promote cryptocurrencies. Have these efforts borne fruit so far? And what other initiatives do you have planned?

Yoni Assia: We’ve recently sponsored seven premier league clubs in the UK as well as German football team Eintracht Frankfurt. We’ve also partnered with French tennis player and eToro user Gaelle Monfils. These initiatives help us to raise awareness of crypto and we will continue to form partnerships that help us to strengthen our brand and build awareness.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe regulation will accelerate mass adoption? Some regulations such as the BitLicense in New York state have forced companies to leave, for example. Do you favor more of a hands-off approach or clear-cut regulations just like in traditional finance?

Yoni Assia: A conducive regulatory environment is vital to protect consumers and foster growth and innovation within the investment industry. We believe that regulation will lead to greater adoption by institutions and intermediaries, which will accelerate mass adoption.

In the UK, eToro was the driving force behind the establishment of CryptoUK, the first self-regulatory trade association for the UK crypto-asset industry. Its remit is to promote higher standards of conduct and to educate politicians and regulators about the industry and its potential. We welcome the recent report from the UK’s Treasury Select Committee which reflected Crypto UK’s calls for the introduction of proportionate regulation to improve standards and encourage growth.

Bitcoinist: Why do you believe Bitcoin and crypto can offer opportunities to traditional finance? Wasn’t Bitcoin created to disrupt and disinter-mediate traditional finance, fractional-reserve banking, and fiat currencies?

Yoni Assia: We don’t’ believe that traditional finance will disappear overnight and we are already seeing many large financial institutions exploring the opportunities offered by crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it.

We believe that crypto, and the underlying blockchain technology, will have a huge impact on global finance. Blockchain has the potential to revolutionize finance by enabling the tokenization of all assets, not just currencies. In time, we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain.

Bitcoinist: Are you personally in the “Blockchain not Bitcoin” camp or vice versa? Why?

Yoni Assia: They are two separate things and being in favor of one doesn’t have to mean you are against the other. For me the easiest way to try and explain the significance of crypto and the blockchain technology that underpins it is to compare it to the internet.

The relationship between blockchain and crypto is parallel to the internet and email. Much like email is just one use case of the internet, bitcoin is just one use case of the Blockchain. Bitcoin was the first crypto and almost ten years after the white paper was written remains the most dominant.

Whether Bitcoin will still be the most significant crypto in another ten years is not for me to say, but I do believe that blockchain will transform finance in the same way that the internet revolutionized communications.

Bitcoinist: What is your opinion on Bitcoin maximalism? Will it be winner takes all (with everything being built on the Bitcoin blockchain in the future) or will there be room for many cryptocurrencies to exist?

Yoni Assia: The crypto-asset market is still very much in its infancy, and crypto-assets are still vying to prove their respective use cases to the world. Currently, different crypto-assets seek to solve different problems and are experiencing varying levels of adoption. There absolutely could be room for a few cryptocurrencies to exist, but it’s too early to say which ones this could be at this stage.

Do you agree with Assia’s comments? Share your thoughts below! 


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Říj 14

Christie’s Auction House Leads Art World in Blockchain Tech

Christie’s recently announced the introduction of a system for recording art transactions on blockchain. The decision is just the latest example of how the tech is catching on inside of the art world.


Leading auction house Christie’s announced a new system utilizing blockchain to encrypt the registration of art transactions for a November sale.

The company is planning to sell a variety of major artworks from one of the most extensive privately-held collections of American art from the last century. According to early estimates project that the artworks could command more than $300 million at auction.

Richard Entrup of Christie’s said the blockchain-based registration system arose out of a partnership with Artory, who is a well-known digital registry for the art market.

According to Entrup, the upcoming art sale will give collectors and clients a way to

Explore the advantages of having a secure encrypted record of information about their purchased artwork.

Buyers will be able to access a secure record of information about their purchase that includes the description, final price, and verification of the transaction.

The decision by Christie’s to integrate blockchain into the art world seems to signify the cutting-edge technology is starting to catch on in a complicated, high-end industry.

Putting An End To Stolen Art?

Blockchain has been the recipient of buzz within of the art community due to its storage capabilities. The idea of a legitimate and secure digital record of a work’s provenance has figures in the art world embracing the idea that blockchain could be used to drastically slash instances of stolen or misrepresented work.

Geneva-based Fine Arts Expert Institute said in 2014 that more than half of all artwork they looked at was either forged or not associated with the right artist.

The Blockchain Art Collective (BAC) has been working to register art onto distributed ledgers by attaching tamper-proof seals to pieces of art. The idea is to let others know that a particular work has its information on a certain blockchain.

Startups like the BAC hope these virtual authenticity certificates will inspire more confidence in the art market, especially for higher-priced pieces.

Bringing A Crypto Arts Culture To Life

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain tech has also become a popular subject for a growing number of artists who are interested in investigating concepts related to the digital world.

Some street artists have begun to create public displays paying homage to popular virtual currencies like Bitcoin. Instagram user @thisisludo posted a photo of a creation that depicted giving “power to the people.”

Otherwise, crypto-themed art has slowly been making its ways into traditional art circles. One serigraph containing the word “HODL,” mimicking Robert Indiana’s famous “LOVE” sculpture, sold at auction for $8,000 to Mike Novogratz. Another crypto-inspired work by cryptograffiti sold for $33,000.

What are your thoughts on blockchain, crypto, and its relationship with the art world? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of, Bitcoinist archives, Christie’s, Instagram (@thisisludo), Wassilykandinsky.net.

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Říj 13

Goldman Sachs Ex-President Gary Cohn to Advise Blockchain Startup

Former Goldman Sachs president and Trump chief economic adviser, Gary Cohn, will take an advisory role with Spring Labs. The FinTech startup aims to use blockchain technologies to revolutionize credit and identity services.


New Horizons

Cohn resigned as director of the US National Economic Council in April, after disagreements with President Trump over trade tariffs. Prior to taking this position, he served as president and chief operating officer at Goldman Sachs for over ten years.

The Spring Labs venture will be his first major move since leaving the Trump administration. He joins a host of high-profile names in financial services, blockchain technologies and regulatory bodies on the advisory team.

The First Days of Spring

[nb: this is the title of a Dali painting. not sure if it can be used as an image to illustrate]

Spring Labs is building a decentralized network using a distributed ledger to improve transparency, security, and efficiency in exchanging credit and identity information. It also intends to allow consumers to view information held about them without charge.

The company, which has offices in Los Angeles and Chicago, raised nearly $15 million in seed-funding, without an ICO in sight. CEO Adam Jiwan explained:

We don’t have a need to use a coin offering or token offering as a means to raising capital. We might deploy a digital asset. But at the moment, our focus is on architecting the network and driving adoption.

Role Play

On taking the position, Cohn received an undisclosed amount of equity in the company. And as to the role he will fulfill, Jiwan says:

We envision him playing a role around helping us think through for developing something that’s regulatory compliant and that others need to see in order to adapt it.

In the press release, Cohn himself states:

I have been very interested in blockchain technology for a number of years, and Spring Labs is developing a network that could have profound implications for the financial services sector, among others.

Is traditional finance becoming more embracing of cryptocurrencies? Share your thoughts below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, wikimedia.org

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Říj 05

$30 Million New York Condo Tokenized on Ethereum Blockchain

The future of real estate and the mortgage business are set to be revolutionized by tokenized properties.


Now Everyone Gets a Slice

A $30 million Manhattan building has become New York City’s first luxury property to be tokenized on blockchain. The building is located in East Village and contains twelve 1,700 square foot condos. The entire property is now represented by an unconfirmed number of tokens on a public blockchain, and each token stands for a fractional value of each property.

Tokenizing the property now allows people with a small amount of money to invest in real estate and this could be a game changer for those living in expensive cities with sky-high property prices. Ryan Serhant, the celebrity star of Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing New York brokered the deal. Serhant explained to Forbes that tokenized property and financing could:

[…] remove the unruly pressure of traditional bank financing, which is much healthier for the project and all of the stakeholders.

Manhattan, NYC

Blockchain Will Bring a Real Estate Revolution

This new method of digitally representing ownership of tangible assets on blockchain has already taken hold in the world of fine arts — a Warhol painting recently auctioned for $5.6 million via Ethereum blockchain.

The sale of the New York property was the result of a partnership between blockchain tokenization experts Fluidity and Propellr, the latter of which is a digital assets firm. Propellr CEO Todd Lippiatt believes that blockchain technology and tokenized assets will revolutionize the real estate and securities market as “traditional securities structures and issuance frameworks haven’t evolved in a long time.”

Do you think tokenized properties level the playing field for all investors? Share your thoughts in the comments below! 


Images courtesy of Bitcoinist archives, Shutterstock.

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Zář 25

70% of All ICOs Are Now Underwater in 2018

How much cash an ICO raised has become “less important” to markets, new research says this week after revealing 70 percent of ICOs have lost the money they raised.


Markets ‘Shrug Off Cash-On-Hand’

As part of the latest edition of its weekly newsletter, Diar investigated the current state of the ICO sector, which despite this year’s cryptocurrency bear market has raised more than in the ‘boom’ year of 2017.

“Diar number crunching shows that 70% of tokens are now valued at less than what was raised during their ICO,” it highlights.

And with tokens having no equity representation, markets have shrugged off cash-on-hand as part of an enterprise valuation.

While many investors insist the current climate is a lull which will reverse, the ‘cash-on-hand’ figures make for a distressing reading.

A $6 Billion Washout?

Compiling a table of the ‘top 10 losers’ – ICO issuers which saw the greatest value bleed after raising funds – Diar reveals an alarming trend.

As Bitcoinist also previously reported, projects such as Bancor and Sirin Labs – well known at the time of their token sales – have since faded from view, their market cap crashing to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in the process.

Sirin Labs 00, which plans to release its Blockchain phone this November, topped the list, losing $141 million in market cap from the $158 million it originally raised.

Bancor 00 lost $80 million while making up the top three are PumaPay ($102 million) and Envion ($96 million).

“As it turns out 402 out of 562 projects that raised over $8.2 (billion) are now worth $2.2 (billion) – an eye-watering $6 (billion) loss in market capitalization value against actual cash paid out to development teams,” Diar founder and editor Fadi Aboualfa continued on Twitter about the findings.

Bitcoinist recently produced a rundown of the ‘winners and losers’ in the ICO world, based on a rankings project by cryptocurrency researcher Stephen Zheng released earlier this month.

What do you think about the current state of the ICO market? Let us know in the comments below!


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Twitter

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Zář 19

Smart Contracts Becoming an Essential Tool for Business

Smart contracts are becoming an important part of conducting business. In the global payroll space, the technology can rid companies of redundant bureaucracy. 


The world of business is increasingly global, but some borders persist. Laws, directives and ways to enforce them change from country to country, rendering international business unnecessarily complicated.

This complication translates into a waste of many work hours. Those hours are spent trying to comply to the different legislation and make sure that the contracts that you care about are enforceable where you need them to. However, an alternative global system — that is both cheaper and more efficient — is emerging due to smart contracts.

A global alternative to archaic bureaucracy

Smart contracts are a native digital system that is more suitable for the world of modern business. The system works the same anywhere in the world, and it is near impossible to interfere with its functioning.

They are non-bribable since, in many cases, they are enforced automatically by software. Moreover, running on a blockchain ensures that data can’t be manipulated. The price of running a smart contract is way lower and faster than having a document notarized.

There are many reasons why smart contracts and blockchain will probably be a big part of conducting business in the future, and those are just some of them.

Smart contracts applied to international payroll

One of the aspects of global businesses deeply hurt by the fragmented bureaucracy is payrolling. The currently employed systems are plagued by fragmented regulations and laws, inefficient communications and intermediaries. Those problems contribute to making the system unnecessarily complicated and, as a consequence, error-prone.

Smart contracts have been employed to solve this issue by the U.S. startup Horuspay. The system is meant to eliminate middlemen, increase efficiency and simplify the procedures (wasting fewer work hours). The vast majority of organizations don’t contract a global payroll provider but instead use a global payroll aggregator. The middlemen — which is the aggregator — are incentivized to hire the lowest bidder in each country, regardless of the quality of the service.

What’s more, the aggregators also charge a significant premium on the services and — according to the Horus white paper — the smart contract counterpart will be 50-80 percent cheaper. Also, automating most of the process and simplifying — in part by disintermediating — the part of the procedure that is still manual, streamlining it so there is less probability of mistakes.

Another big advantage of smart contracts is how directly and quickly they can interact with funds. Instead of using wire transfers — which are notoriously slow and expensive — this system utilizes tokens for payments. Those transactions are way cheaper and near instant — thanks to the EOS blockchain.

Just like the vast majority of blockchain-based services, you need to have tokens to use Horuspay. The organizations will need one HORUS token per every employee that they wish to pay through the system. The transactions are conducted through the secondary tokens, eosCASH (called Horus dollars before the rebranding).

Security

The disintermediation and global nature of the smart contracts grant them great potential. Part of it lies in drastically improving the bureaucracy of the future in many ways, one of which is data security.

Many different copies of the data are stored. As a result,  even if one system is compromised and the documents are edited, the original versions are still retrievable. Also, the data is usually well encrypted in such systems (this is the case with Horuspay). What’s more, even when data is stored off-chain, is usually is still verified on the blockchain.

Also, blockchain enabled key management adds further security and convenience. All of this makes services like Horuspay much more secure than the centralized counterparts that are prone to getting hacked.

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Zář 18

New Samourai Wallet Feature Makes Bitcoin Transactions Private

A 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway offers to make transactions private by masking user identity while keeping funds safe.


Bitcoin Transactions Are Pseudo-Anonymous

Bitcoin (BTC) 00 transactions are often described as anonymous because users can exchange the cryptocurrency without providing any personally identifying information.

However, Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous. The history of each Bitcoin transaction is permanently stored on the blockchain. And, anyone can track and view this information.

The abstract of BIP0069 describes the issue of the leak of private information, as follows,

Currently there is no standard for Bitcoin wallet clients when ordering transaction inputs and outputs. As a result, wallet clients often have a discernible blockchain fingerprint, and can leak private information about their users.

Now, the 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway promises to protect user privacy with a mechanism which is based on the trusted cooperation established between two wallets.

In a separate tweet, user @SamouraiDev said,

We will err on the side of caution and privacy. Only two (or more) wallets that have engaged in a ‘trusted’ relationship will be permitted to collaborate in a cahoots spend.

Wallet Users Can Establish Private Transaction Channels

Currently, each time users perform a payment transaction, they must exchange the Bitcoin address. This handicap impedes Bitcoin from becoming a mainstream currency. For some experts, the implementation of Reusable Payment Codes might help to solve this issue.

BIP47, “Reusable Payment Codes for Hierarchical Deterministic Wallets,” proposes a technique that can help to simplify the payment process while enhancing the user’s level of privacy.

BIP47 allows for the establishment of an invisible channel between two users. As defined by Justus Ranvier, the BIP’s author:

This BIP defines a technique for creating a payment code which can be publicly advertised and associated with a real-life identity without creating the loss of security or privacy inherent to P2PKH address reuse.

The 2-wallet Samourai Stowaway can allow users to establish private payment channels with each other, without revealing their Bitcoin addresses.

In this regard, SamouraiDev indicates that they have taken “an undefined byte in the BIP47 payload and are using it as a ‘feature’ byte so other wallets can detect functionality.”

Do you think that concealing the Bitcoin address will improve the privacy of Bitcoin transactions? Let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Pexels, Samourai, Shutterstock, Twitter/@SamouraiDev.

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Zář 17

Blockchain May Resolve Palm Oil Problems

As consumer desire for palm oil continues to rise, movers and shakers within the industry look towards blockchain to solve issues related to production, accountability, and sustainability.


Growing demand for palm oil over the last decade has driven a lot of new eyes towards the industry.

Production of palm oil has become a popular way to meet global consumption for vegetable oils, since the yield per hectare ratio is very high.

Palm oil is also used as a conditioning agent in shampoos to restore natural hair oils. It is also commonly added to ice cream to help retain a smooth quality.

Currently, palm oil growers, processors, and related consumer goods manufacturers are grappling with how to solve problems while promoting sustainability — all throughout the notoriously complex palm oil supply chain.

Due to a relatively opaque supply chain, there is still no clear-cut way to trace palm oil back to its original plantation. Despite efforts from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), only 17% of worldwide palm oil production is classified as sustainable.

 Due to a relatively opaque supply chain, there is still no clear-cut way to trace palm oil back to its original plantation.

As a result, regulatory bodies within the industry have a difficult time with product certification. This is especially so when consumers demand details about specific items.

Still, a growing number of producers, regulators, and consumers in the palm oil industry believe that blockchain may be used to close current gaps in the supply chain. Not to mention the promotion of transparency.

Organizing Towards Blockchain

Recently, a number of palm oil industry leaders announced the creation of a group called SUSTAIN (Sustainability Assurance & Innovation Alliance).

The goal of the collective is to establish a blockchain-based palm oil platform to tackle landscape-level sustainability problems, as well as meeting goals related to NDPE (No Deforestation, No Peat, No Exploitation).

The goal of the collective is to establish a blockchain-based palm oil platform to tackle landscape-level sustainability problems.

Initial participants in the collective include palm oil companies Asian Agri and Apical. Other players in the palm oil supply chain will most likely join as the alliance develops.

According to Digital News Asia, SUSTAIN will eventually offer access to a system in which parties can download tools to monitor traceability and compliance, trade FFBs, and utilize best practice guides.

Patching Gaps in the Palm Oil Chain

Others feel that blockchain might be utilized as a support structure for a system that could check the geolocation of harvested fruit bunches. The system would then would be able to store information related to palm oil worker identities and harvesting times.

This structure could provide government agencies, and NGO officials, with better information regarding employment status and overall working conditions. At the same time, it may allow policymakers access to more information about farming practices prior to crafting land use policies.

Blockchain has also been touted as a tool to help cut down on palm oil spoilage. Palm oil has a propensity to react poorly if it is improperly stored. This holds the potential to make the product harmful for consumption if the amount of Free Fatty Acids (FFA) reaches a specific level.

Speculation is that blockchain could be combined with IoT sensors to monitor shipping and transport conditions to single out poor batches of palm oil before they hit the market.

What role do you think Blockchain will play in the sprawling Palm Oil industry? Don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments below.


Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Wikimedia Commons.

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