Starbucks Eyes Supply Chain Tracking Via Blockchain

Starbucks seeks to track its supply chain with a bit more transparency through blockchain, from farm to cup. Meanwhile, the Monetary Authority of Singapore sees potential through the use of blockchain for cross-border payments.

As blockchain makes inroads into supply chain tracking, Starbucks said this week that it will be using distributed ledger technology (DLT) to help source and track its products from, as CoinDesk reported, “farm to cup.”

The coffee giant is linking with Microsoft, using the latter’s Azure Blockchain Service to gain “digital, real-time traceability” concerning its supply chains. The Azure service is being leveraged to record the coffee shipments as they make their way across global conduits. In addition, there will be a new feature for end consumers across the company’s mobile app so that they can get a sense of where the Starbucks products were sourced, and see how Starbucks is supporting the growers.

The companies said this past week that the blockchain system can also help the growers contracted by Starbucks, too, as they can see where their beans end up. Starbucks has been tied to more than 380,000 coffee farms, as estimated last year.

“I firmly believe that by empowering farmers with knowledge and data through technology, we can support them in ultimately improving their livelihoods,” said Michelle Burns, SVP of Global Coffee & Tea at Starbucks, according to CoinDesk. “This kind of transparency offers customers the chance to see that the coffee they enjoy from us is the result of many people caring deeply.”

Starbucks is also notably working with the Bakkt digital assets and bitcoin futures platform being developed by Intercontinental Exchange, CoinDesk noted. The ICE, as it is called, is the parent firm of the New York Stock Exchange.

Separately, as reported by Cointelegraph, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is recognizing blockchain. Chief FinTech Officer Sopnendu Mohanty of MAS pointed to blockchain’s general potential amid cross-border payments. However, the regulator “does not see much” promise in retail bank digital currencies.

Mohanty made his comments at the MIT Technology Review’s Business of Blockchain 2019 earlier in May. MAS said that, as far back as 2016, it had experimented with the technology, with an eye on deploying blockchain to a variety of use cases within financial services.

“The next wave of central bank blockchain projects can make further progress by bringing technology exploration together with policy questions about the future of cross-border payments,” said Mohanty.

Beyond those broader comments, blockchain — as used in identity verification — got a boost when SecureKey Technologies said this week that its Verified.Me digital ID offering has been made available across five Canadian banks via mobile apps. Bloomberg listed the banks: Desjardins Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia, CIBC and TD Bank. SecureKey Chief Executive Officer Greg Wolfond said the offering will be used for bank records, healthcare records and government services.

“Everything from being able to see your health records in a secure way, being able to open a new bank account, being able to get a new phone — all this stuff that’s so time-consuming and painful is going to get easier for consumers,” Wolfond said at the time. “They’re going to be able to share their data in a secure and trusted way, which they never really could before.”