Overstock’s Medici Ventures Acquires Stake in Agricultural Blockchain Firm

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Medici Ventures, the blockchain venture arm of Overstock.com Inc., has purchased $2.5 million in equity in agricultural blockchain project GrainChain, according to a press release shared with Cointelegraph Dec. 4.

Founded in 2003, GrainChain has developed a blockchain-powered system that enables supply chain parties to track the distribution process of harvests. GrainChain’s blockchain-based financial settlement system allows producers, buyers and sellers to create smart contracts in order  to secure funds throughout the grain transaction process.

The firm states that their system provides a platform, by which small and medium-scale farmers can conduct business outside of their immediate geographic area and cut out middlemen.  

With the purchase, Medici Ventures now has 10 percent ownership in GrainChain, with the option to further acquire an additional 10 percent. The acquisition will purportedly allow GrainChain to expand its market share in Central and South America.

Blockchain technology has been actively integrated in various agricultural applications. In November, U.S. fast-casual salad chain Sweetgreen announced a second funding round to raise $200 million, mentioning blockchain among its key development areas. The сapital raised will reportedly enable Sweetgreen to focus on technology and supply chain development, with blockchain as the “most viable solution available” to increase transparency in food supply chains.

In October, the world’s four largest agriculture companies, commonly known as ABCD, partnered to digitize international grain trading by using blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. The technologies will initially be used to automate grain and oilseed post-trade execution processes, which are a highly manual and costly part of the supply chain.

Also that month, Medici Ventures invested in Israeli-based technology company VinX to develop a blockchain-powered wine futures platform. VinX plans to develop a token-based digital wine futures platform based on the Bordeaux futures model, that will enable the trade of wine futures on a blockchain platform.