IBM Spain and Galpagro to introduce blockchain technology

IBM Spain and Galpagro, a company focused on high yield olive groves, are introducing blockchain technology to trace all stages of extra virgin olive oil production and distribution, reports Olive Oil Times.

“This technology is a great opportunity to give full confidence to the consumer on what type of oil is being purchased,” said Ricardo Domínguez, Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development of Andalusia, in the report on 21 January.

Blockchain technology is a high security sophisticated data holding platform which can be accessed by anyone to view. Digital data is separated into blocks, connected by a digital chain, which shows transaction information from owner to owner. The transaction information is very difficult to tamper with, providing more transparency in the value and legitimacy of a product.

Olive Oil Times said the first extra virgin olive oil with full blockchain tracing would be available this year, originating from some of the plots of Finca El Valenciano in Seville, Spain.

The Olive Trace initiative would provide detailed information on every transaction and company involved in the production process of the oil.

After scanning a QR code, anyone with access to the blockchain could view all the transactions through an app, such as the exact location of the olive trees involved, the olive variety, olive pressing in the mill, oil production, packing, distribution and placement on supermarket shelves.

“The system is therefore interesting not only to consumers, but also olive growers, producers, packers and exports,” the report said.

IBM had been focusing on the food sector to incorporate blockchain technology to help assure quality and origin, and to avoid olive oil fraud, Olive Oil Times said.

Last May, Spain also saw the launch of Olivacoin, a company that created hardware to provide a payment platform for buyers and sellers of olive oil, using cryptocurrency.

Blockchain technology was originally developed as a core component of the cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, serving as the digital public ledger for Bitcoin transactions.