2016 seemed to be the year of blockchain big bank consortia, perhaps 2017 will be the year of blockchain consortia in other industries. Today, The Seam, a commodities trading, and agribusiness software provider, announced the formation of a blockchain consortium for the global cotton industry. In conjunction with IBM, The Seam wishes to create a supply chain and trading ecosystem built on IBM blockchain tech using the Hyperledger Fabric.
For those new to The Seam, the company began operating in December 2000 as the first completely online neutral exchange for cotton trading. Over the past 17 years, it became one of the leaders in the global agribusiness industry that specializes in commodity trading and management systems. In 2016, they launched a cloud-based commodity management system for the peanut industry. At the time of this writing, The Seam has cleared and processed more than $7 billion USD through its cloud-based platform.
This year, The Seam wishes to use smart contract technology to enable instantaneous transfers among global trade, utilizing the Hyperledger project.
The Hyperledger project, under the Linux Foundation, is an open source collaborative effort to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. Arvind Krishna, Senior Vice President of IBM Research said:
“A consortium approach using IBM Blockchain and Hyperledger Fabric can help create a greater efficiency and serve as the foundation of a robust system for massive collaboration.”
Mark Pryor, Chairman, and CEO of The Seam stated:
"This new technology will be transformational for the cotton industry. There are numerous organizations, processes, systems and transactions involved from field to fabric. Situated at the intersection of agriculture, finance and technology, The Seam with the help of IBM, is uniquely positioned to introduce blockchain technology to cotton-affiliated businesses worldwide."
The Seam belongs collectively to Calcot Ltd.; Cargill Inc.; ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation, Ltd.; EWR, Inc.; Louis Dreyfus Company; Olam International; Parkdale Mills, Inc.; Plains Cotton Cooperative Association; and Staple Cotton Cooperative Association.
With an ownership consisting of so many prestigious cotton corporations, the blockchain is proving that it can expand its audience base and provide solutions far beyond the use cases of the banking industry.