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.

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 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.

The Seam Joins Field to Market to Link Sustainability Data with Blockchain Technology

MEMPHIS, Tenn.February 22, 2018 – The Seam, a leading provider of agribusiness software and trading solutions, today announced its affiliate membership with Field to Market, an alliance for sustainable agriculture dedicated to defining, measuring and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production.

The Seam“We are excited to join Field to Market to begin integrating sustainability metrics and associated algorithms from the Fieldprint Platform into The Seam’s agribusiness software products,” said Mark Pryor, Chairman and CEO at The Seam. “Combined with blockchain technology, these integrations provide us with a powerful new tool set for delivering provable sustainability attestations, selective transparency, data security and privacy through a comprehensive platform.”

Field to Market began as a conversation on sustainability between agricultural supply chain stakeholders back in 2006. Since then, it has built a diverse group of more than 125 members representing all facets of U.S. agriculture, which includes grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, beverage, restaurant and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and public-sector partners. Its Fieldprint Platform, which links all points on the agricultural value chain, is a pioneering assessment framework that empowers brands, retailers, suppliers and farmers at every stage in their sustainability journey, to measure the environmental impacts of commodity crop production and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

Notable agribusiness members of Field to Market include American Peanut Council, Cotton Incorporated and the National Cotton Council, all of which The Seam is involved with as well.

About The Seam
The Seam was founded by leading global agribusinesses and specializes in custom software development, commodity trading and management systems. In December 2000, it began operating the world’s first online, anonymous exchange for cotton trading. Since that time, the company has leveraged its software and development expertise in agriculture to expand into other commodity segments, including peanuts, grains and dairy. The Seam is a proven leader in the agritech space, having cleared or processed more than $8 billion through its platforms, and recently launched innovative business intelligence tools for peanut producers and handlers. For more information, visit

About Field to Market
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is a diverse collaboration working to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality and human well-being. Its work is grounded in science-based tools and resources, unparalleled, system-wide collaboration and increased supply-chain transparency. For more information, visit

In the Know: This Week’s Agritech Round-up (January 26, 2017)

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.

Ag Broadband Coalition Hails Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act

The Precision Agriculture Connectivity Act of 2018 was introduced this week by the Agricultural Broadband Coalition, helping to revolutionize farming across the U.S.

Read more here, via Farm Bureau.

Davos 2018: Technology Can Help Transform Our Food Systems – Just in Time

Technology has the potential to change the way our food is produced and consumed, as people could one day track the nutritional content, carbon footprint and see how their food was grown.

Read more here, via Forbes.

Precision Planting Announces Precision Technology Institute

A 200-acre Precision Technology Institute will serve as a place to enhance research efforts and help demonstrate how precision agriculture can help farmers increase yields.

Read all about the new facility here, via Agriculture.

How This Italy-based Agritech Startup is Using loT to Help Farmers Know Their Crops

As the demand for food around the world rises, the demand for crops and animal feed will also increase by 100 percent. Find out about how this agritech startup in Italy will help farmers make better growing decisions with a system based on sensors.

Read more here, via Your Story.