Bitcoin vs blockchain: Which one should farmers learn about?

If the very idea of a digital currency makes you blank out, worry not — there are very few out there who would argue that Bitcoin has a large role to play in agriculture. If you’ve lumped the blockchain concept in with Bitcoin, that’s where you need to pause and investigate further.

Because, while the two have emerged into the mainstream at about the same time, and, yes, both are virtual, they are two different things. Blockchain — essentially an unchangeable, multi-user ledger — has significant and immediate implications for agriculture. Bitcoin is simply a cryptocurrency that is designed on a blockchain reporting system.

Looking specifically at trade, the concept of an accessible, transparent, and unchangeable ledger could make a huge difference in transparency for both grain and livestock markets. Just this week, Coindesk reported that, a Chinese company, is partnering with Australia’s InterAgri blockchain platform to track beef imports into China. The database will log several different data points, including an animal’s birthplace and where it was processed.

Is this the beginning of wide-spread adoption of blockchain in agriculture? We’ve talked about traceability and verification for many years. Does blockchain make it easier?

To discuss that, Elaine Kub, author and market analyst, recently sat down with Kelvin Heppner at the Western Canadian Wheat Growers convention in Washington, DC. In the interview below, Kub explains bitcoin, blockchain, and bubbles, and how they’re all different, but related. Most importantly, Kub spells out why farmers and the agriculture industry should be focused on understanding blockchain platforms and just what this could mean for trade, traceability, and more.