Updated: Jan 5, 2022
You've probably heard about the boom of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others that use blockchain technology. Familiar (or not!) with the thousands of media reports on Non-Fungible Tokens that are now flooding our information channels, you may want to learn more about what Blockchain actually is and how it works in the agricultural space.
On Monday, October 4th 2021 our CEO Max Rünzel held a joint Masterclass at the World Food Forum flagship event. Topics were the innovative journey of Blockchain and its challenges; but above all, its great potential to solve the problems that we are facing today in the agri-food systems!
Young innovation enthusiasts of all ages were invited to join the United Nations Rome-Based Agencies (RBAs), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP) in an interactive, online World Food Forum (WFF) Masterclass on “Blockchain 101”.
The Participants learned about the challenges and great potential of blockchain for fintech, food, agriculture, emergency intervention, and sustainability. After the opening from FAO Digital Agriculture and Innovation Specialist, Erik Van Ingen, who introduced the UN Rome Based Agencies and the enormous potential that frontier technologies have to foster growth and accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the participants were distributed in 3 different break out rooms, one per organization, in two cycles, to discuss specific topics that provided them insights of the specific work of the RBAs in the blockchain field.
In the FAO room, Max and Gerard Sylvester, FAO Investment Officer presented on ´Distributed Ledger Technology (DLTs) for Agriculture: Cutting through the hype´ and provided a walk through the promising use case of hybrid smart contracts in agriculture with a particular focus on Distributed Oracle Networks (DONs). Max and Gerard talked about use cases of DONs to mitigate the impact of adverse climatic events or to incentivize planet-positive agricultural practices, where bee data can play a particular role as an indicator for environmental health and beekeeper activity. The IFAD room had as Guest speakers Brenda Gunde, Global ICT4D Senior Technical Specialist from the Sustainable Production, Markets and Institutions Division and Maria Fernanda Miranda Munoz, Policy Specialist, TRACE Blockchain by IFAD from the Financial Controller's Division to cover the topic of ´Blockchain Applications to Development Finance: Enhancing transparency, growth and social inclusion´. The IFAD session focused on the results of IFAD’s research and development of blockchain solutions to increase transparency, fight fraud and corruption, and to offer small-scale farmers tools that contribute to reduce transaction costs and to increase their income.
The discussions on the WFP room were led by Kyriacos Koupparis, Head of Frontier Innovations, from the Innovation Accelerator, focusing on “Blockchain applications for financial inclusion, logistics and supply chain”.
Each session was followed by a Q&A, that was moderated by the main speakers of the thematic breaking rooms, before heading back to the plenary session for a Shared Lessons session between the two cycles that were moderated by Senior Innovation Adviser from the Change, Delivery and Innovation Unit (CDI) Gladys H. Morales. Closing remarks were delivered by Jean-Martin Bauer, Senior Advisor on Digital from WFP.
Through this extremely interactive session, based on dialogue and collective exchange, youth attendees did not only gain knowledge on blockchain topics but have increased awareness and trust that the RBAs are well prepared to guide global policymaking in relation to the implementation of the SDGs in general and more specifically on the key impact of blockchain on food systems improvement.
At HiveTracks, we are proud of having been able to contribute to the WFF event and want to thank the Rome-based agencies of the United Nations for this opportunity and communication materials provided and used for this blog article.