“Blockchain” – the technology used to manage and protect data in the best and most secure way – is known as the engine behind the digital currency “Bitcoin”. Currently, an American importer is using this technology to improve the lives of coffee farmers in some of the poorest communities in Central America.
Ivonne Herrera has a coffee plantation in the hills above Santa Rosa de Lima, about 40 kilometers from the capital of Guatemala.
“We will have a good income from coffee. We have invested for this and this year we are seeing the results of two years of work“, she says.
Like most coffee farmers in the world, Herrera sold his coffee on the international commodity market, where buyers agree to a predetermined price before the product is ready. This practice lowers coffee prices and leaves producers vulnerable to currency fluctuations.
Currently, Herrera sells her produce directly to an American coffee importer at a premium.
The system in question is the brainchild of brothers Paul and Scott Tupper, who used a successful blockchain technology business in Seattle to solve environmental sustainability issues in the developing world.
“Enthusiasts for coffee or other goods have seen the addition of standards and certificates in the market, which can be confusing for consumers. Blockchain technology offers a way to verify what is happening both financially and socially,” says Paul Tupper.
Blockchain technology creates a ledger, manages and confirms transactions in a verifiable and transparent manner from all stakeholders, from coffee growers to importers and specialists. The two brothers’ company believes that most consumers want to know where their coffee comes from in order to pay coffee farmers prices that exceed even fair trade coffee standards.
Guaranteeing higher prices allows farmers like Ivonne Herrera to not only invest and protect their properties, but also pay employees better, raising the standard of living in the community.