Blockchain Technology

Starbucks tracks farm to cup with blockchain

Starbucks is the latest company to use blockchain technology to track the voyage of coffee beans from farm to coffee cup.

The message at a recent  conference in Toronto looking at all aspects of Blockchain technology was that while the crash of crypto currencies has grabbed the headlines, the revolution behind the currencies is rapidly spreading.

More companies from food safety to banking and transportation are using the technology to enhance their operations. One of the latest is Starbucks, which is using Blockchain to show customers and suppliers how their beans go from farm to coffee cup.

The two-day Blockchain Revolution Global event was organized by Don Tapscott who heads up the Toronto-based Blockchain Research Institute In his opening remarks, Tapscott said the  ability of this shared ledger technology to change business, is creating a second Digital Age. He compared those who doubt the staying power of Blockchain to those who thought the Internet was a fad in 1995.

Tapscott, who specializes in the social and economic impact of technology,  said the Internet has emerged as a medium that reproduces information with the original stored elsewhere. This can include etransfers of money, credit card loyalty points, votes, or deeds and contracts.

This means a middle man stores and keeps track of transactions, whether a bank, government agency, or third party data collector. These centralized mechanisms slow business transactions and the information they store can be hacked. They also introduce a layer of expense through fees and capture personal data which they resell without any payment to us. We give our consent in long, poorly understood legal disclaimers when we use their services, Tapscott said. It undermines our privacy, he added.

Blockchain applications remove the need for a middle man, cutting costs and speeding up transactions. They do this because transactions are shared among partners in a contract or business deal, so each has the same information. Everyone can see the transactions when entered and once entered nobody can change them

Also read: 5 areas where Blockchain is being put to use

One recent food industry example is Starbucks.  Starbucks has joined forces with Microsoft in an initiative aimed at giving consumers more information about its coffee.

It is working with Microsoft’s  Azure Blockchain Service to  record all the journey of coffee beans from farm to cup using a shared ledger. The information will be available on its mobile app, giving consumers details on where the coffee was sourced and roasted, as well as on tasting notes.

As reported by Forbes,  the two companies announced their partnership at  Microsoft’s Build Developers Conference in Seattle. It follows the success of Starbucks  2018 bean-to-cup  pilot, involving farmers in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Rwanda.


Adam Mayers writes about investing and personal finance. He is a contributor to the Globe & Mail’s Globe Advisor and a contributing editor to Gordon Pape's Internet Wealth Builder newsletter. Adam was Business Editor and investment columnist at The Toronto Star and is the author of six books.

2 comments on “Starbucks tracks farm to cup with blockchain

  1. Pingback: Canada, Netherlands test paperless passport – Adam Mayers

  2. Pingback: UPS drones delivering medical supplies – Adam Mayers

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