Cotton Industry Coopetition

One aspect of The Seam’s initiative to bring blockchain technology to the commodities market that has surprised many people is the collaborative involvement of businesses that compete with one another. Participants in the cotton blockchain initiative include the biggest players in the market: Calcot, Cargill, ECOM Agroindustrial Corporation Ltd., EWR, Inc., Louis Dreyfus Company, Olam International and others.

In the case of blockchain for commodities, this cooperation is easy to explain: The only way these markets can make the transition to a decentralized environment – and make it a true transformation of the industry – is to do it together. Everyone stands to benefit, even though they compete with each other.

There’s a word for cooperation among competitors: coopetition. The principles of coopetition in business arise directly from game theory, which is a scientific approach to making rational, strategic decisions within competitive situations.

In business, there is often a clear benefit to competitors when they form a strategic alliance to accomplish a goal that will be advantageous to all parties. For instance, creating a new market or new industry standards will benefit everyone who is positioned to sell to or within that market.

A recent example is cloud computing, which needed to overcome security concerns in order to build the market it has today and that continues to grow. The major players in the sector worked together to improve technology to the point at which it gained wide acceptance and the competitors could go back to competing.

Similarly, companies in the telecom industry leverage each other to gain access to new markets or to expand services, while software and hardware developers work with their competition to establish systems or standards that all can then build upon.

Forbes has noted that blockchain technology itself has bred vigorous coopetition in a variety of directions. Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, Intel and Cisco are working together on enterprise blockchain technologies, while others are pursuing interoperability among blockchains and cross-organizational transaction and smart contract functionality.

The lesson of coopetition and game theory is that winning in business is not a zero-sum game. The winner can’t take all – and often wouldn’t want to – so there is no reason to compete as if your competitors are mortal enemies. If you doubt the wisdom of that, consider that the United States Postal Service uses FedEx and UPS to carry some of its shipments, and that those two private carriers also use USPS to deliver some of their shipments. You could say that coopetition puts a strategic business spin on an old adage: If you can’t beat ‘em, maybe you should join ‘em, at least some of the time.

Building Critical Mass through Blockchain Technology

The Greater Memphis IT Council held its second quarter thought leadership luncheon today, and our Chairman and CEO Mark Pryor served as a member of the panel. The event was moderated by Ben Amaba, Chief Technology Officer for Blockchain at IBM, and other panelists included Dale Chrystie, VP, Strategic Planning at FedEx Freight; Jim King, CEO & Founder at CoreRights; and Joel Tracy, CIO at IMC Companies.

Check out a few of the takeaways below.

Mark Pryor: Agriculture is a big deal. If you eat and wear clothes, you are affected by it. While it might be a complex industry, it impacts all of us. The industry as a whole is asking for traceability and transparency. There are not a lot of standards in the industry, and that causes slowness. We’re trying to create efficiencies – in addition to traceability and transparency – and blockchain will help us do that.

It’s like the telephone game. The end message is never how it started, and that can be funny. In business, though, it’s not so funny.

Jim King: The focus is centered around the supply chain, and trust is something we’re all working toward.

Mark Pryor: We’re working to provide provable information for business owners to make sound decisions, so they have trust in the transactions they’re making. It’s network-centric trust.

Dale Chrystie: The concept of trust has seemingly been a leap of faith. From this point forward, that trust is verified. There is data. That leads us to smart contracts. It’s no longer a leap of faith. It is objective trust.

Joel Tracy: There should be a public standard. We don’t want a bunch of “private” standards that don’t cross over. There might be slightly different standards for a few private organizations – for example, the Department of Defense – and those will need a high level security.

Mark Pryor: There is similarity between what happened in the early days of the internet. People went to the open, public, decentralized network. There is still a place for both the internet and intranets, but the focus is on connection and collaboration.

Dale Chrystie: There are tremendous benefits with blockchain technology. There is a ton of waste in our processes. We hope the single version of truth will help. It’s all in how we connect things.

Jim King: In order to create awareness and encourage continued education, we need to start with the business and economic model in which businesses operate. Then, we need to determine how this will apply to our business.

How can we create critical mass?

Joel Tracy: New technology is being developed every day, and adoption is happening rapidly. Blockchain will be adopted faster than the internet.

Mark Pryor: Education is so important. We’re all here today to learn more about blockchain; everyone is interested in how this works. Education is critical to generating critical mass. And if we want to ensure broad adoption, that will require everyone working together toward one mission – a concept known as coopetition.

Memphis IT council

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-Up (April 13, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Bank of America Envisions Blockchain As Internal Ledger

According to a patent application released this week, Bank of America is looking to adapt blockchain, allowing for the bank to securely record and authenticate personal and business data.

Read more here, via CoinDesk.

Brandon Batten uses Drone to Zero in On Crop Problems and Answers

Tobacco farmer and drone operator Brandon Batten uses drones to develop fertility plans and conduct stand counts for his small grain crops. He’s not the only one in the industry moving in this direction, as farmers begin to adapt drones to calibrate management decisions.

Read more here, via Southeast Farm Press.

Precision Farming: Leaders in the Field

Farmers are going to have to adapt to a wide range of technologies if they want to boost productivity. As several are already using drones and digital GPS markers to monitor crops, farmers are seeing an increase in yields.

Read more here, via the Engineer.

Technology Helping East Africa Unlock Agriculture Potential

In Ethiopia, technology is being used to improve the agriculture sector, by aerial images from satellites, soil sensors and weather forecasts helping to ease the management of crop growth.

Read more here, via East African Business Week.

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-Up (April 6, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

What is Blockchain and What Can Businesses Benefit from It?

Before blockchain, there wasn’t a way to validate, secure and transfer digital ownership in a way that was trustless. Now businesses that are transaction-based or have decentralization that benefits the end user of the customer, are beginning to adapt this technology.

Read more here, via Forbes.

Arizona Blockchain Bill Signed into State Law

In Arizona, a new bill has passed allowing for corporations to hold and share a distributed ledger, opening the door for emerging technologies throughout the state.

Read more here, via CoinTelegraph.

Technology-driven Transformation in the Farming Sector

Our world faces the challenge of providing enough food for the global population, and as those within the food supply chain begin to embrace new technology, there will be a larger need and opportunity for technology suppliers and innovators.

Read more here, via Information Age.

The Future of Social Impact Is…Blockchain

Among the many things that blockchain can do, it can also improve the social impact sector, by helping homeowners conserve electricity with a smart refrigerator, or generate cash payments to families in Nigeria that will improve graduation rates.

Read more here, via Forbes.

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-Up (March 30, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Blockchain – What Is It and What Is It For?

Blockchain provides a high degree of security, making it unable to be modified or tampered with, and is already used in areas like the finance industry, the most active user of this technology.

Read more here, via Forbes.

Helping Consumers Understand AgTech

As innovations in agriculture continue to take shape, consumers’ opinions show that people are interested in the need to feed a growing population, and in order to do so, farmers need to be able to farm more sustainably with better tools.

Read more here, via California Ag Today.

Blockchain Technology Could Save the Planet

Blockchain technology offers many benefits to the way we do business, and it just might help our planet by providing an alternative investment option to fossil fuels.

Read more here, via Energy Live News.

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-up (March 23, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the-know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

Top 5 Robotic Systems to Watch in Agriculture

With the agricultural sector adapting to technology on the farm, states like California and Arizona have looked into the use of robots to help with produce and specialty crops that require intensive hand-labor.

Read more here, via Precision Ag.

5 Ways Blockchain Technology Will Change the Way We Do Business

From accounting, to even advertising and marketing, innovative companies begin to rethink their digital age strategies by the adoption of blockchain technology.

Read more here, via Entrepreneur.

Montana Ag: Precision Agriculture is Changing Farming

In Montana, farmers are using the latest precision agriculture technology, helping to make farming more efficient and profitable, with tractors that offer auto steer.

Read more here, via KRTV.

How Will Blockchain Technology Help Developing Countries 

With blockchain’s ability to provide transparency, security and accountability, the technology could help developing countries address their challenges through an admissible budget.

Read more here, via Inc 42.

Blockchain for Blockbusters: From Movies to VR Distribution Platforms, Media Is Embracing Decentralization

As more companies begin to adopt blockchain, there’s one industry looking into it that might surprise you: Hollywood.

Read more here, via Variety.

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-up (March 15, 2018)

The world of agritech is changing every day. Check out our weekly round-up to stay in-the know on the evolving world that is agriculture technology.

How Blockchain Will Impact Agriculture

Blockchain technology has impacted many industries already, and one of them is the meat industry, as it will help trace pork from anything to what they were fed to where they were raised, improving overall transactional efficiencies.

Read more here, via

Realizing the Benefits of Precision Agriculture

This assistant professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida – IFAS Agriculture Research and Education Center has one main goal: to improve profitability and environmental sustainability through his educational program on precision agriculture.

Read more here, via Growing Produce.

How Will Blockchain Impact the Internet of Things?

Blockchain is expected to add $3.1 trillion in business value by 2030, making now the time to understand the convergence of blockchain for the internet of things.

Read more here, via Red Herring.

World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit

This conference takes place in San Francisco March 20-21, with an overall goal to generate global partnerships and collaborations by accelerating agricultural technologies.

Learn more about the conference here.