Tech

Steve Kaaru

Microsoft and Starbucks’ bean-to-cup blockchain program brewing

Over the past few years, Starbucks and Microsoft have been increasingly involved in the crypto and blockchain industry. The two have partnered with the Intercontinental Exchange on its Bakkt platform, which could launch any time this year. And now, the two giants want you to track your coffee from the farm to your cup.

In the recently held Microsoft Build Conference, the two companies had some good news for blockchain enthusiasts. According to GeekWire, a tech news site, the bean-to-cup initiative is getting closer to reality.

This initiative intends to ultimately connect the coffee farmers and the consumers. Starbucks customers will be able to use the food chain’s mobile app to trace their coffee from the farm to their cup. This could have a significant effect on Starbucks’ revenue, with research showing that consumers are willing to pay more for goods that are fully traceable. According to the research, traceability is more important to consumers than the brand of the product.

Starbucks also announced other initiatives that it hopes will cement its place as one of the leading food chains in the US. They include interconnected coffee makers which utilize Azure cloud products and internet of things (IoT) to connect, as well as predictive drive-thru ordering which could possibly predict your order through facial recognition.

Starbucks announced the blockchain initiative last year during its annual shareholders’ meeting in Seattle. The CEO, Kevin Johnson promised the shareholders that the company was taking traceability to the next level. The company revealed that it would pilot the program in three countries –Rwanda, Colombia and Costa Rica -at first.

The Seattle-based company, which is the third-largest food chain in the world after McDonald’s and Subway, worked with 380,000 farmers last year alone. GeekWire reported that Starbucks will open source the technology and will share its findings with other interested firms.

The platform was developed on Microsoft’s Azure platform. The company has continued to invest in its blockchain suite of products. Just days ago, it announced the launch of Azure Blockchain Service (ABS). The service targets businesses which want to implement blockchain technology without having to invest millions of dollars in setting up the infrastructure. It has a built-in governance system for managing common tasks such as authenticating user applications and setting permissions.

Microsoft also announced that Quorum, the Ethereum-based blockchain platform developed by J.P Morgan, was available on ABS. This allows Microsoft and JPM’s customers to easily deploy and manage scalable blockchain networks on Microsoft’s cloud platform.

Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (SegWit) chain are referenced as SegWitCoin BTC coins; tokens on the Bitcoin Cash ABC chain are referenced as BCH, BCH-ABC or BAB coins. Altcoins, which value privacy, anonymity, and distance from government intervention, are referenced as dark coins.

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