Five things you need to know about the blockchain timeline

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What is the next technology that will transform the food and ag industry? What will astute leaders be devoting attention to these next couple years?

The answer is blockchain. We’re confident in this; because people like you have told us so.

Almost half said they believe
their company will do so
in the next three years.

In a recent survey focused on managers and directors in the agriculture, food or agri-food markets, only 13.2 percent said their company is currently conducting work regarding blockchain technology — but 49 percent said they believe their company will do so in the next three years.

49% Projected blockchain growth in food & ag over the next three years.

That’s just one of the fascinating findings that emerged from C.O.nxt’s industry survey, distributed in partnership with Stratovation Group.

But before we dive in, let’s pause on the most basic question. What is blockchain? Because while the buzz for blockchain is growing right now, many still aren’t quite sure precisely what it is and how the technology would work in their system/s.

So a quick primer. While blockchain’s details and applications can be complex, the fundamentals are simple. Blockchain is a decentralized database (as opposed to a traditional database, like a server) that is comprehensive of all aspects of a product’s production and supply chain. One that’s secure, fast and completely transparent. Here’s how IBM, one of the leaders in blockchain usage, defines it:

Ideal for delivering information because it provides immediate, shared and completely transparent information stored on an immutable ledger that can be accessed only by permissioned network members. A blockchain network can track orders, payments, accounts, production and much more. And because members share a single view of the truth, you can see all details of a transaction end to end, giving you greater confidence, as well as new efficiencies and opportunities.

IBM Leadership

Once you get a handle on the fundamentals, possibilities start to open up. What’s coming next? Here’s what we foresee:

Blockchain is perceived as a tool for the mega companies.

When survey participants were asked to name an ag or food company using blockchain today, IBM and Walmart were perceived as the top leaders in the space. AgriChain and Ripe.IO garnered attention too. Right now, blockchain is seen as something only the giants can afford to invest in. But that’s changing.

Over two-thirds of survey participants said their companies are
at least “somewhat interested” in blockchain tech.

Blockchain will likely be common in companies of all sizes soon.

Over two-thirds of survey participants said their companies are at least “somewhat interested” in blockchain tech. So what’s stopping them from relying on blockchain’s capabilities?

Understanding & knowledge are the top barriers to adopting blockchain technology.

Blockchain can be dense. There is a steep learning curve of both language and scope that serves as barrier to entry. Our survey found that “understanding” and “knowledge” are currently most likely what’s holding most companies back. But like most new innovations, once the dam breaks, it will be found everywhere (and fast). As more and more companies start to use it, the pressure will increase to learn and keep up. What will newcomers find?

It’s much more than cryptocurrency.

Crypto and blockchain go hand-in-hand in many consumers minds. Digging into our collective industry, the most agri-food blockchain opportunities exist in traceability and connecting the dots in the supply chain the survey participants believe, along with commerce and food-safety optimization to a lesser extent. It is most definitely a big-picture technology, with capabilities to impact almost every part of business, especially within the Agri-food sector.

Blockchain is way more than crypto.
There are opportunities in supply chain, food tracing and food security.

What does this all mean?

All signs point to blockchain surging throughout the industry. It’s a vital technology that provides opportunities and solutions in supply chainfood tracingfood security and more.

If you aren’t in the know about blockchain, it’s time to learn as much as you can. And if you have a grasp on the fundamentals, becoming an expert would be a smart step to putting your company in a position to grow and thrive.

At C.O.nxt, we’re always here to help. If you want to see more from the research or start a deeper conversation — reach out. We’re all going to be talking more about this in the next few years. So stay with us as we continue to learn together how blockchain can add innovation to the agri-food sector.

C.O.nxt Insight

Our team of subject matter experts focuses on food and agriculture—farm field to processing to entrée on a plate. We can help you build a new brand, protect an old one or target customers to foster sales. Let’s talk when the time is right to handle your next strategic marketing and communications challenge: Marcy Tessmann, [email protected].

Our research partner, Stratovation Group, provides unique and proprietary insights like these for leaders serving all aspects of the agri-food value chain. Learn how data-driven decision making can provide new opportunities and solve old challenges for your business; reach out to: Cam Camfield, [email protected].