Just reading the word elicits a visceral reaction where it’s as if you can almost smell the aroma of freshly ground beans. For many of us, coffee is the fuel of choice to jump start our day. So it should come as no surprise that your morning stimulant is the second largest traded commodity in the world with a $100 billion market worldwide. However, unbeknownst to many, women are responsible for 70 percent of growing and harvesting. Currently, farming communities in developing countries are forced to accept low prices and delayed payments for their harvested goods. Delayed payments means loss of ability to adequately provide for food and clothing for their family, send their children to school, or pay for some basic healthcare. While millennials and other coffee connoisseurs have been demanding for years a fundamental shift in coffee collection and supply chain transparency, a recent study by researchers at Harvard indicated that fair-trade coffee has small to negligible effects on coffee growers, especially the poorest ones.
If you remember a blog post from this time last year, you may recall us announcing that a Stellar integrator, bext360, had proposed a project with Ideo.org Open Challenge to create a smart coffee kiosk that would solve this problem and give these farmers the fair deal they deserve.
Today we are excited to announce that bext360 is launching out of stealth, with its first product, as well as its “bext-to-brew” platform that utilizes Stellar’s blockchain technology to bring true transparency to the coffee supply chain, allowing for the traceability of the product from Bean-to-Brew to the consumer, and ensures that fair-trade payments are made.
bext360’s first product is similar to Coinstar, but for coffee. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the machine will evaluate the coffee cherries and beans and then divide them into grades based on quality. Farmers will have access to a mobile app to view amounts of each grade and accept offers for payment. Powered by Stellar’s network, the application immediately pays the farmers for their product. This solves the huge problem of a timely payment. Previously, coffee farmers would drop-off their crops to buyers, who would manually sort and inspect the beans, and pay the farmers, sometimes up to months later.
bext360 is utilizing the Stellar network to record timestamps, values and amounts, making it possible to accurately process payments and credits. Through the use of Stellar’s network, all parties involved in the transaction—companies, farmers and coops—can access the data transparently, and farmers can be paid in real-time.
bext360 will be deployed to collect and analyze coffee and make instant payments to farmers based upon quality analysis. By making digital payments for loans and interest directly to lending organizations, while they analyze and collect goods, bext360 machines will literally pay for themselves. This process provides critical capital to entrepreneurs by reducing the cost for lenders to monitor and collect on capital equipment loans. This investment stimulates new businesses by providing capital to process commodities in the market of origin.
In addition to enabling payments, the bext360 platform enables the collection of key data at unprecedented levels. For example, bext360 machines will collect data on the quality and efficiency of farming practices, and then analyze supply chain dynamics in real-time, to create new business opportunities and supply chain efficiencies.
We are very excited to be announcing this partnership today with bext360 and Stellar network’s involvement in helping them provide coffee suppliers in emerging markets with a synchronized payment structure, which will reinvent the distribution process for commodities.
For more information on bext360, visit: https://www.bext360.com.