Home Strategy Agtech BlockGrain raises $1m for blockchain technology

Agtech BlockGrain raises $1m for blockchain technology

Australian agriculture supply chain tracking start-up BlockGrain has raised the equivalent of $1 million in the cryptocurrency XEM through the NEM blockchain investment fund.

BlockGrain claims to be the first major Australian blockchain project to take advantage of NEM's $90 million global investment fund.

The start-up allows farmers, brokers and logistic companies to track grain at harvest, through the supply chain, to consumers. Farmers can create, manage and track commodity contracts.

BlockGrain co-founder and chief executive Caile Ditterich said the funds would be used integrate its current platform with NEM’s blockchain technology by the last quarter of this year.

“BlockGrain was created with the mission to solve real life problems faced by the agriculture industry today. We know that the complexity of the supply chain coupled with lack of meaningful information and data result in major efficiency and productivity issues for our farmers, brokers and logistic companies," he said.

“We’re at a stage now where we’re ready to investigate the potential application of blockchain into our platform. We’re looking at NEM’s technology to help us automate and provide greater visibility within the agriculture supply chain.”

blockgrain big

Jason Lee of NEM, with Sam Webb and Caile Ditterich of BlockGrain.

NEM has a "plug and play" approach that offers a customisable, easy and secure method of making transactions and storing digital assets.

Jason Lee, director of the NEM.io Foundation for Australia and New Zealand, said BlockGrain was an exciting example of potential real use cases of blockchain.

“For the past few months, we have been looking for companies in Australia that have been developed to either improve the way companies do business or are aiming to make a societal difference," he said.

“BlockGrain is on a clear path to making this a reality and partnering with them is a natural fit for NEM. They understand how they can benefit from blockchain and how it works, and we’re confident we will be able to integrate their current business into our platform.”

Nelson Valero, council member of the NEM.io Foundation, said BlockGrain would give NEM credibility as a technology platform.

“BlockGrain is well positioned to go international and scale very quickly due the large number of adopters that are either testing the beta system or already contracted to use the new BlockGrain platform. They are established business with great potential," he said.

BlockGrain will make its platform available by the second quarter of 2018. Its clients include Rise Agri, Australia’s largest independent grain brokerage group which manages 1000 farmers.

The NEM blockchain investment fund is decided through community voting, with companies posting the concept for their start-up or business on NEM community forums, which are then voted on by users. Successful companies are then presented to the NEM.io Foundation, which carries out due diligence before issuing the funding.

Photo: courtesy BlockGrain

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.