You Can Use Your Bitcoin To Improve Everyone’s Health

Ideas like soil guardian bitcoin faucets allow Bitcoiners to utilize their accumulated wealth to enact change.

I found it interesting that in the early days of bitcoin, people gave this magic internet money away and even set up bitcoin faucets for that purpose. Roger Ver was one of the first to do so and — from what I can tell — was very generous in giving away bitcoin. So was Gavin Andresen. Regardless of how the Bitcoin community feels about these two now, giving away bitcoin was vital to growing the network in the early days and we’re deeply indebted to them for doing so.

I contend that bitcoin faucets are equally, if not more important today, no matter the price! Why? Because it gets people off zero. If you believe, as I do, that bitcoin is a lifeboat, we want as many people who can transact in satoshis as possible to do so. Faucets can be found in online games today and other inane uses but I could not find any that serve the purpose I propose.

So my question to the bitcoin community is this: Why don’t more bitcoiners set up bitcoin faucets that support causes and people that they value? Problems in our world don’t fix themselves. Invest in what you value most.

For example, I was an impact investor who supported small farmers many years before I made any investment in bitcoin. About five years ago, my family made a sizable donation to Slow Money which supports small farmers in Colorado. Unfortunately, we donated the melting ice cube of U.S. dollars.

My thinking was and still is this: That small farmers and gardeners are the unsung heroes in our health care system. Invest in what you value most in your community. In my case, I value health above wealth. I value clean air, clean soil, clean water, clean food — nutrient dense and toxin free — clean energy and clean ecosystems. Those happen to be things that our fiat monetary system does not value! If anything, fiat is hostile and harmful to all of them. If that is true, then I must put my money where my mouth is and do it now. The problem of depleted soil and nutritionally bankrupt food will not fix itself and it’s rapidly getting worse. Money that venerates consumption over restoration and resilience does great harm to every ecosystem humans need to thrive.

According to Dr. Max Gerson who pioneered the Gerson Protocol which reverses cancer and other illnesses with nutrient dense organic food: The soil is our external metabolism. As bad as our knowledge gaps are around money, the knowledge gaps we have around soil health in our culture are even worse. And soil health will directly impact community health. We’ve all heard the phrase food is medicine; well, take it a step further to: “soil is medicine.” Healthy soil begets healthy food which begets healthy immune systems.

With all that as context you may wonder: “How hard would it be to set up a soil guardian bitcoin faucet?” I don’t know, but I’m not waiting around for someone to start one. Instead, a young urban farmer based in Lakewood, CO came to me looking to raise U.S. dollars from investors and instead I offered to put bitcoin on his balance sheet. He accepted immediately, but he knew nothing about bitcoin at the time I made the offer. Once he did his homework, he was very excited by the offer. No orange pill needed. We’ve since met in person, I’ve toured his farm and we’ve got him using Opendime (many thanks to Nic Carter for the idea from watching his podcast with Lex Fridman) to hold the private keys to his bitcoin and an agreement to not touch it for at least one year. One more Bitcoiner added to the network. And a community health care hero to boot. And I wasn’t bashful about telling him I considered him and others who practice restorative agriculture to be health care heroes of the most valuable kind.

In addition, I’ve asked him to think about which of his peers might we do this with next? He is going to think about it and we’ll do the next one together. We will go through the same process with the next small farmer restoring soil in our community. And once that is done, the three of us will select the fourth recipient and so forth. Peer to peer. Rinse and repeat until every small farmer in Colorado has bitcoin on their balance sheet. Now, that is something that I’d love to see go viral.

My passion for helping small farmers springs from my involvement in Slow Money. One of the big ideas I heard attending my first Slow Money Gathering in 2013 was: “If you’re working on a project that can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough!” Instead of adopt-a-highway, why not adopt-a-small-farmer in your community? Put bitcoin on his or her balance sheet. I don’t know if we’ll do this for every small farmer in my lifetime, but the way is clear. The health benefits to our community are 100x better than lobbying the government for subsidies.

For those of you interested in starting a soil guardian faucet in your community, please contact me at and I’ll share what I know and how I did it. I don’t know how many peer-to-peer soil guardian faucets will be needed to support the small farmers in Colorado but I’m willing to be one of them. My only hope is we start thousands of them in every state. The impact on our health by supporting thousands of small farmers can never be overstated!

Instead of donating U.S. dollars that tend to promote debt slavery and overconsumption, why not donate bitcoin and promote freedom and resilience? I’m all for HODLing and I expect that to be the predominant mindset for most Bitcoiners. However, for the Boomers with wealth and those who operate from abundance, I issue this challenge: why wait to begin to address structural problems like soil depletion, living water, nutritionally bankrupt food and a host of other problems that will only get worse if we wait?

The old adage applies here: if not now, when? If not you, who? I stand ready to assist anyone who is willing to join me on this journey. Bitcoiners can transform our disease care system into a health care system. All it takes is ten thousand bitcoin faucets of all types.

This is a guest post by Mark Maraia. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.


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On 50th Fiat Anniversary, Bitcoin Can Solve U.S. Gratification Addictions

My fellow plebeians of Bitcoin, El Salvadorians, Nigerians and Americans… I bring you here today for a very special reason. It is the 50th anniversary of a moment that has proven so pivotal and insidious, that every single corner of America’s economic market is feeling lasting ripple effects that have swelled into their own tsunamis

Fifty years ago today, a secret meeting at Camp David, comprised of U.S. President Richard Nixon and senior ranking White House and Treasury advisors, decided to call an end to the Bretton Woods Agreement. Convertibility to the dollar was suspended, and the fiat U.S. dollar was conceived. No longer were Americans able to convert their dollars for gold (with exceptions). This also meant that country-to-country trade could no longer be priced in gold, which the U.S. was running out of after World War II (and rapidly).

Fast forward 50 years to today. America is going through a handful of midlife crises, all at once. We’re unhealthy, suffocating under a metric fuckton of debt, outstanding medical obligations are piling up and all this while everyone’s beginning to realize that our Monopoly Money isn’t actually worth much. But I am of the belief that the Monopoly Money issue goes much, much deeper than everyone else is aware of. I intend to release a series of articles that go through a few industries that seem to be flying under the radar, as well as a few that are getting attention. First, I would like to direct your attention toward food.

The Food Industry

The food industry has been the source of some very interesting, multi-faceted dynamics over the past decade or two, (at least to me), that I would like to discuss.

On one side, we have the Standard American Diet (SAD), and on the other side we have what health science is telling us about the biological effects of the SAD diet. And then, there’s all sorts of fad diets (scams), nutritional diets (based on the individual and science) and then there’s the intellectually dishonest marketing campaigns. As if the waters weren’t muddy enough, right? Then there’s the nature of lobbying in Washington D.C., and its plausible effects on the scientific community. And then we’ll look at farming and agriculture (albeit briefly). Simply put: the food topic is an absolute shit show.

But for conversation’s sake, I’m interested in starting with the first two issues (the SAD diet and its health ramifications), and then wrapping up with the last three (science, marketing and lobbying, not specifically in that particular order).

The Standard American Diet

What makes up the Standard American Diet is basically what the average citizen chooses to eat on a consistent basis, and the quantities of such. The problem? Do you think people pick what they eat based on what they need, or do people tend to pick what they want, or crave? That question is obviously rhetorical. The issue here being that if the average individual is making diet decisions, day by day, based on what they want… well… I’m sure we can all identify the dichotomy — the things we want conflicting with what we may actually need. It is by this discussion that we run into a very, very interesting relationship that plays directly into this struggle of daily food choices.

There is a doctor, Dr. Robert Lustig, who puts forth an eloquent model of this very battle. The average individual, I’m sure we can agree, is driven very much by the immediate reward system of the body — which is dopamine. Dr. Lustig’s work provides some terrifying insight, which I will lean on briefly.

How many of us are waking up every day plagued with the dull reality of drudging through a job we hate, for which we are underpaid, while under a mountain of debt that we have no legitimate hopes of climbing out from? I would imagine this being quite a common reality. Having to offset the activities and fun of preference, for a form of income to support our daily necessities; housing, food, hygiene, water, etc. When you’re denied something… how bad do you want it? We are constantly driven to seek reward, and the dopaminergic (which is a fancy word for “referring to the systems that interact with dopamine”) pathways are referred to as “the reward system” of the body. So, as we are deprived of dopamine, we are driven to seek it out whenever, and wherever, possible.

How do we get our dopamine fix? Dopamine release can be activated during drug use, such as with stimulants like caffeine and cocaine, or through activities such as playing video games, watching movies, listening to music or winning a game of soccer with some friends. The more excitement, the more reward, and importantly, the more expectation of a reward, the stronger the dopamine high that we achieve. We can also stimulate the reward system through something as basic as food — that chocolate bar when you stop for gas, or the ice cream when you’re feeling down or that heavy pasta meal after landing a big milestone.

Dopamine And High Time Preference

The issue after all of this? Dopamine is addictive. Highly addictive. It’s why caffeine, sugar and cocaine are so addictive — the dopamine that gets stimulated by the consumption of these products. The scariest part? Dopamine overstimulation can essentially lead to a frying of the neuronal pathways within the brain. Dr. Lustig details this process, as well as many of the others in a fantastic podcast that I have linked here.

Now, you may be asking, “Okay, cool Mike, we’re talking about money and bitcoin, why are we going on this ‘Magic School Bus’ ride through some science-y, health talk?” Reasons. Which I will explain now.

If the vast majority of our citizenry is being heavily driven by these dopaminergic reward systems like seeking out more exciting video games, and higher carbohydrate-dense meals, there are a few things happening all at once. Firstly, it’s bad for your health. Not only are the sugar highs causing our population to develop a slew of chronic diseases and metabolic conditions, but the dopamine addiction is, likely, causing individuals to choose activities that give them that excitary high at the most efficient energy expenditure possible. Which means…? Movies (Netflix), cell phone use (yes, this also includes social media use, including Tinder) and video games. I base that very simple assumption off of typical drug-seeking behavior. So, not only are our neighbors seeking their latest dopamine hit within their food choices, but they’re likely seeking it out in their freetime use and lifestyle choices.

This goes a bit deeper, still. What’s an issue that addicts encounter as they use? Tolerance goes up, leading to a need for greater and greater levels of stimulation to achieve the desired effect. But it’s not just in the quantities that this dynamic is affected, it is also in the time duration that it takes to receive the high. Our addicts want the high they are seeking faster, and in greater potency. Which is also rewiring the brain, seeking out instant-gratification as much as possible, and as fast as possible. Ultimately resulting in a functional change in how the brain processes information, such as decision making and critical thinking.

This dopamine addiction within the population is affecting physical health by way of the exact diseases listed previously: obesity, type 2 diabetes and depression (as dopamine down-regulates serotonin). This addiction is also causing the functioning of the brain to shift toward that of a drug addict — seeking out more and more sugar to activate our reward system in greater and greater amounts.

What ties all of this back to my point? Money.

And that is ultimately why I bring you here. The health complications (caused by heavy food processing and high-time preference lifestyle choices) are placing a heavy demand upon the healthcare system. They are also weighing down the insurance industry (which I will detail in a separate piece). At the same time we have industries like big pharma that are profiteering from the deteriorating health of the public. Simultaneously, still, we have the food manufacturers that are sweeping massive swaths of cash by shoveling these addictive, manufactured “foods” to Average Jane, Joe and their children. Not only are processed foods highly addictive, but they’re also much cheaper to produce and sell — both in monetary cost, as well as time value. Why grow natural food when you can produce a processed imitation that has (relatively) the same ingredients, and looks the same on paper? (That answer would be, among many other things, bioavailability. But that’s a discussion for another time).

The world revolves around money.

So, we have the average American that is being absolutely bombarded by dopamine stimulation on a consistent basis, day in and day out. The movies we watch, the video games we play with friends, the music we consume and the food we gorge upon… even smartphone usage or gambling — which became a very interesting topic regarding r/WallStreetBets and the dogecoin market — are all kicking off dopaminergic responses. And we’ve detailed how the release of dopamine pushes us into seeking out these rewards continually. But these activities and products are also motivating our daily food choices. How much money do you think you spend on these kinds of products and services?

I mean, I LOVE sitting down to a good action flick with a gallon of ice cream (who doesn’t?).

Money doesn’t just buy you food and bitcoin. Money also buys you time.

For example, buying the time and attention of a politician.

Science, Institutions And Corporate Lobbying

On the other side, we have scientific institutions. While these institutions were founded under well-intended means, they are also led and operated by… humans. This means that they are not perfect, that motivations and interests may sway, as well as the most common aspect of humanity prevailing: the tendency to be wrong.

This is where we step into a proverbial pile of shit in my oh so humble opinion. Between Steven Brill’s fantastic work on “Tailspin” and this 2015 article published by The Atlantic, we can start to see why things go awry. It is absolutely astounding how so many issues today trace their lineage back to Nixon’s presidency. We go back to the 1970s (again, I know): the First Amendment right to petition the government was leveraged by companies to press members of Congress, including their staff (which includes those at regulatory agencies and executive branches).

This seemingly basic decision has ballooned into a cancer all its own. The Atlantic article titled “How Corporate Lobbyists Conquered American Democracy” detailed that, at the time of writing (2015), corporations were spending $2.6 billion per year on lobbying alone. For 2019, this figure had risen to $3.51 billion.

The reason that this is an issue? Corporations (and/or wealthy and powerful individuals, groups and organizations) can (in theory) leverage their assets and powers to influence not only people, but data and scientific studies. Especially if this entity can gain political favor with an influential figure, these groups can even go so far as to (again, in theory) gain federal funding to conduct a study that suggests their product serves an economic (or environmental/sociological) good! That’s the funny thing with statistics, you can essentially manipulate them in any way necessary to achieve the desired outcome. For a personal and very eye-opening account of this very process, I recommend no other book than “The New Confessions of An Economic Hitman.” John Perkins is a champion for risking life and liberty to discuss the systems and processes by which this very practice of statistical manipulation occurs.

If we can’t trust institutions that were established on the promise of following data and truth, and not the narrative… we can no longer trust what they have to say about any subject. Dr. James Todaro broke down this problem with an issue that afflicted nearly every single soul on the planet. The Lancet got caught up in a particular bind in 2020 when it published a study on May 22, 2020, that was rapidly utilized as a credible source to cease clinical trials for a treatment of the coronavirus pandemic, spreading like wildfire as mainstream media outlets caught wind of it. The study claimed that a particular treatment was ineffective, and possibly even dangerous. In the time since then, the study has been retracted by The Lancet. However, this does not ameliorate the fact that this is a symptom of a much greater problem.

We have entities that make a business of providing products to our citizens, neighbors and families, that are being used to nourish ourselves, grow and stay healthy. And these entities are seeking greater and greater profits without regard to their products’ quality or health impacts. We have a very serious problem on our hands if these entities are turning and acting upon two strategies: One, manufacturing processed foods of greater and greater addictive properties, and two, influencing (some might go so far as to say “manipulating”) public officials to garner federal funding to provide doctored statistics from studies through previously trusted institutions within the academic community.

To make matters worse, we haven’t even discussed the nature of the agriculture industry, which is plagued by mafia-style business tactics (both literally and figuratively), all the way down to the fertilizer. Plus, I am of the personal belief that over-reliance of herbicides and insecticides on crops is to blame for the massive rise in food allergy prevalence among the youth populations.

To spark any possibility of interest within this topic, I would like to direct attention to this 2008 brief from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In the period of 1997 to 2007 food allergies among children increased 18%. In ten years, the prevalence of food allergies increased 18%, that is absolutely insane. What’s worse, is that hospitalizations between 2004 to 2006 that were responsible for and/or related to food allergies were up over 130% from 2001 to 2003. What could be the cause of all this? I won’t dare answer that specifically, as my opinion would likely be ignorant to many factors that I have missed in this article alone.

However, when you start to lay out the landscape as we have done, things start to become less and less surprising. And in my opinion, very much linked.

How Bitcoin Fits In

BUT FIRST. Let’s start a recap, we have

  • The American population is eating a standard quality of diet that innervates a slew of dopaminergic rails.
  • These dopamine-inducing foods enable the reward system and, due to their high simple sugar contents (carbohydrates, specifically refined sugars), this is to the comparable extent of developing an addiction.
  • At the very same time, we have societal and lifestyle conditions that are exacerbating this addictive system: excitatory, digital (blue light) experiences such as movies, video games, social media and smartphone use. These all stimulate dopamine release, compounding upon the addictive development.
  • This addiction leads to multiple chronic, metabolic health conditions that are very costly to treat.

Where does this all play out for importance to Bitcoin? The money printer.

Once companies gained the ability to aggressively lobby politicians, which started in the 1970s (the same time period as the cessation of the gold standard, oh so coincidentally), every industry gained access to the infinite money printer. Since then, the ability to manipulate public opinion of foods and products via advertising and manipulation of scientific studies in order to boost revenue has been a constant elephant in the room.

Today, this is finally coming to a head in the form of rapidly-deteriorating public health. And this quickly collapsing public health scenario is bogging-down our healthcare system. When I was in my first year of university, I was working as a student providing inventory to operating rooms (ORs) where we had access to information on the type of procedure that each room was preparing for. I can tell you, with absolute confidence in my memory, that 75% to 85% of the procedures going through the OR were related to metabolic disease/conditions. And that was back around 2012.

The whole point I am making is not that Bitcoin would have prevented this, (at least not entirely). The problem is that bad money, in this case the U.S. dollar, has been “ripe for the printing” ever since the gold standard was removed. By allowing companies to lobby their cases to politicians, it opened the floodgates to the gambit of manipulations that money and power can provide. You may be wondering how. Well, we’ve now all seen the kinds of sneaky shit the politicians can pull by adding clauses and amendments to bills (i.e., the recently-proposed infrastructure bill). I mean, the article that The Atlantic published showing how sugar was marketed as a diet aid should be all that you need to see.

With a sound, honest money like bitcoin, we at least have the likelihood that it wouldn’t have been nearly as easy for this outcome to occur, solely because the money to provide the funding for the marketing campaigns, lobbying and studies wouldn’t have been able to be willed into existence. And this is, of course, able to occur because of the existence of the Federal Reserve, the all-time monetary backstop of the United States of America, available to you as long as you have the proper consortium of buddies that can get you as close to the chairman as possible.

So, I’ve discussed how America is addicted to sugar and flashy, exciting light shows and instant gratification. You think it’s coincidental that we are also addicted to printing money, and kicking the proverbial can down the road?

All I’m saying is, Bitcoin would have made it harder for this to happen. That’s all.

(Coming Soon: I look into the insurance industry. It is a very important part of the conversation around healthcare, the economy and the money printer.)

This is a guest post by Mike Hobart. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.


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Cerealia is Revolutionizing Agriculture Through Tokens for Grain Deals

Blockchain in agriculture is evolving. In the Swiss crop trading blockchain company, Cerealia, technology has been piloted that makes it possible to trade grain using virtual tokens.

Blockchain Easing Deals in Agriculture

According to Filipe Pohlmann Gonzaga, the Chief Operating Officer of Pully, Switzerland, Cerealia SA has developed a non-fungible token supported by 30,000 metric tons of Mexican White Corn. Mercanta provided the token for grain, both operated by Grupo Ceres, in the Triple T terminal in Mexico.

Cerealia’s platform has only sponsored bilateral dealings between physical grain traders and has attracted interest and offers some six million tons of Grain since its launch in November. “The next move is to set up a framework which will allow financial institutions and speculators to participate without physical grain delivery,” he said.

Token dealings will lead to eliminating the burdens and costs of a variety of grain transactions. Trade houses and others will issue tokens to supply them, which will then be exchanged without physical documents that enable most commodity transactions on the Cerealia blockchain platform.

Pohlmann said in a phone call that clients could easily exchange the token. “For other players, including hedge funds and financial companies, trading opens up,” he says.

Cerealia claims to be the first specialist international online agri-trading market to provide contractual assurance. Verbal deals are commonplace in today’s commodity markets without proof of time, firm, or quotation. Disputes also occur, and transactions are not successful. It reduces the competition, as major players tend to work with only established and trusted partners.

The issue is complicated in the emerging countries because their demand for commodities is unorganized, and structured training sites such as the developing world are not available. Traders also have to trade in the US dollar in these nations. In addition to paying exorbitant trade finances, they also lose money because of FX fluctuations.

Cerealia began grain trade in the Black Sea region but spread to markets like Brazil and Egypt. The business will soon have a Singapore representative and will be heading towards sub-Saharan Africa, which is also present in Ukraine. It has clients in nearly 30 countries. Andrei Grigorov, Chief Executive Officer, said Mexico’s most recent deal was to expand its scope.

The Future of Blockchain in the Agriculture Industry

Blockchain is a technology that is developing. While a lot of sectors have started to revolutionize, a lot remains to be done.

More accountability in supply chains is provided through blockchain technology as customers become more involved in their food source. Crop giants, including Bunge Ltd., Cargill Inc., and Viterra, joined forces in introducing their own Covantis SA ledger system.

However, the opportunity for blockchain technology in the agriculture industry is becoming increasingly evident. The global agricultural industry currently stands at more than $2.4 trillion and includes more than a billion people worldwide. There is now a possibility for creativity more than ever.

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Hard-Hit Argentinian Farmers May Get Boost From Trading Platform for Tokenized Produce

Farmers struggling amid Argentina’s hyperinflation and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic may soon find relief through the tokenization of agricultural assets using blockchain technology.

According to a press release on Thursday, blockchain infrastructure provider CoreLedger and soon-to-launch peer-to-peer marketplace Abakus are aiming to create a digital barter economy within the country.

CoreLedger’s technology is expected to allow farmers to redeem and trade their tokenized farming assets with any other tokenized asset on the Abakus platform.

For example, soybeans would work like an asset-backed currency to be traded for cattle, corn or the Argentine peso, according to the press release. Assets on Abakus will also be available to both national and international investors.

“In an inflation-stricken country, access to physically backed assets can be the difference between surviving and thriving for these farmers,” said CoreLedger’s CEO Johannes Schweifer.

Schweifer also said 40% of the world’s soybean oil and soybean meal production comes from Argentina and that the initiative is of “great national interest” to small farmers seeking to liquify their assets.

Argentina has struggled with hyperinflation since as early as the 1980’s, compounded by foreign debt, excessive government spending and a recession that continues to plague the Latin American nation.

“Farmers in Argentina struggle to make a living due to the stronghold monopolies of national corporations who dictate the conditions for agricultural trade and take a major cut,” said Abakus CEO Martin Furst. “Agricultural-backed tokens solve volatility and liquidity issues inherent in cash and stock-based saving plans.”

A previous CoreLedger initiative in Bolivia enabled farmers to sell tokenized cattle to investors abroad which opening an avenue to circumvent loss of revenue to middlemen.



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Farmers Turn to Tokenized Assets in Argentina Amid Tumbling Peso

Blockchain-based tokenized agriculture is providing some relief for farmers in Argentina battling with a collapsing Peso. Crypto and blockchain adoption appears to be gaining ground in the country as the economic condition continues to worsen.

Agro-backed Tokens Offering a Hedge Against Inflation for Argentinian Farmers

According to Forbes, farmers in Argentina are turning to blockchain and tokenized assets to counter the effects of rising inflation exacerbated by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Indeed, the agricultural sector is one of the adoption areas for the novel tech in several countries around the world.

Argentina accounts for over 40 percent of the global soy-meal and soybean oil production. Now, blockchain is providing an opportunity for farmers to tokenize their physical assets bringing much-needed liquidity to the market. These blockchain-based assets allow farmers to hedge their risks with financial titles accepted by investors both within and outside Argentina.

Indeed, agro-backed tokens have been known to offer significant solutions to issues of liquidity and volatility in the agriculture sector. Farmers in developing countries are often able to access tokenized assets to generate investment channels across the market.

Companies like CoreLedger are taking things a step further by creating further monetization channels for the emerging agro-based tokenization market. The blockchain startup recently partnered with Abakus to develop a peer-to-peer (P2P) marketplace that will allow farmers in Argentina to engage in the global digital barter economy.

The planned P2P marketplace will reportedly create avenues for farmers to trade their tokenized assets. Participants will also be able to exchange their digital agro-based assets for other digital tokens on the Abakus platform.

Commenting on the importance of tokenized assets for farmers, CoreLedger CEO Johannes Schweifer remarked:

“In an inflation-stricken country, access to physically-backed assets can be the difference between surviving and thriving for these farmers. the tokenization of agricultural assets brings greater agency to farmers who can now sell the physical-backed assets according to their own needs.”

Expanding Intersection of DLT and Agriculture

Decentralized ledger technology (DLT) is seeing increasing utilization in the agriculture industry with some of the focus being on provenance and supply chain. The immutable nature of blockchain records offers a tantalizing use case of the novel tech in an industry where quality is a major consideration among market participants.

As previously reported by BTCManager, IOST has partnered with agro-based startup Blocery to streamline the agriculture supply chain. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is also reportedly exploring the utilization of DLT for supply chain-related issues as well.

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Tokenized agriculture could provide economic relief to Argentine farmers

Argentina’s brittle economy — stricken by endemic problems that have only worsened amid the COVID-19 pandemic — has sparked rising unrest in the country’s agricultural sector. Earlier this month, representatives of the bulk of national producers rejected President Alberto Fernandez’s government’s decision to suspend all exports of corn as part of its efforts to stem inflation and exert downward pressure on domestic corn prices. 

The farmers’ strike followed a similar wave of resistance in the oilseed and soy industries last December. The rise in labor unrest poses a challenge for the stewards of the national economy, given that agriculture contributes 60% of national exports and roughly 10% of Argentina’s GDP. 

With the peso in freefall, some overseas entrepreneurs are seeing an opportunity for the uptake of a technology-driven solution that could provide an alternative to help farmers weather Argentina’s prolonged economic distress. In particular, CoreLedger and tech firm Abakus intend to launch a peer-to-peer marketplace that would establish a digital, blockchain-based “barter economy” between agricultural producers in Argentina.

Tokenizing agricultural assets, the partners claim, would help farmers to hedge against inflation and access liquidity both nationally and internationally. Such a marketplace would enable the exchange of tokenized titles by farmers for any other tokenized asset on the platform — essentially establishing a form of parallel, asset-backed currency for local producers.

Abakus CEO Martin Furst contends that this set-up would bring “greater agency to farmers,” whereas the CEO of CoreLedger, Johannes Schweifer, claims that the approach could offer critical relief. Unlike cash and stock-based saving plans, their argument is that agricultural-backed tokens functionally become stablecoins, backed by physical assets, and are therefore well-suited to a domestic context stricken by currency devaluation. Schweifer argues:

“In an inflation-stricken country, access to physically-backed assets can be the difference between surviving and thriving for these farmers.”

In the aftermath of a 3.8% rise in consumer prices last October, persistent peso volatility and tensions in government amid the country’s ongoing, fraught negotiations with the International Monetary Fund, local producers may indeed be more receptive to trying alternative fintech strategies that can help them to escape the ruinous economic dynamics in the country.  

Alongside blockchain entrepreneurs, cryptocurrency exchanges also appear to be alert to a market opportunity in the region’s struggling economies, with Brazil’s largest Bitcoin (BTC) exchange —Mercado Bitcoin — recently announcing plans to expand across Latin America, including Argentina. Data from Useful Tulips suggests that Argentina currently ranks seventh in the region in terms of peer-to-peer Bitcoin trade volume.