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Future

Agrotokens Let Farmers Turn Surplus Grain Into Tangible Cryptocurrency

Digital currencies may be volatile, but one company in Argentina has found a way to allow farmers to purchase goods and services online using surplus grain.

A farmer and his tractor in a wheatfield in Argentina.

Argentine farmers harvested a record of 20.3 million tons of wheat crops from 2021 to 2022.

Clarín

BUENOS AIRES — Amid a boom in the price of farming products, an Argentine firm has devised a way for local farmers to turn surplus grain into digital credits that can be used to purchase goods with a debit card.

In partnership with Visa, Agrotoken, a firm founded by Eduardo Novillo Astrada and Ariel Scaliter, has created a card accepted by 80 million shops and businesses associated with its tokenized grains program. The firm is effectively linking Argentine farmers and exporters who have surplus grains with a global business network.


This will effectively turn the grain, typically kept in storage, into digital cash to be spent on goods or even as loan or credit guarantees. The "tokenized grains" are in effect a stable cryptocurrency, which, unlike other notoriously volatile digital currencies, is backed by a tangible asset.

A stable digital asset

Each token is specifically equivalent to one ton of grain, which a producer has sold and sent into storage. Every ton is validated through a Proof of Grain Reserve certificate (PoGR), a system that is safe, transparent, decentralized and auditable at all times.

The "tokenized grains" are in effect a stable cryptocurrency.

Agrotoken uses a multi-chain security infrastructure through the Ethereum, Polygon or Algorand technologies, depending on which system works best.

Once producers have acquired their digital assets, they can use them in different operations including consulting grain value indices in real time. They can also apply for loans backed by their grain or pay for business or operational costs by card.

A bitcoin

Agrotokens are more stable than other digital currencies.

André François McKenzie

Digitalization of the farming sector

The partnership with Visa goes beyond payments. Novillo Astrada says, "We're creating an application with Visa, where the producer can keep a record of all their transactions to make accounting and decision-taking easier. And every time they use it, they'll have cashback in crypto form."

Gabriela Renaudo, the managing-director of Visa in Argentina, says the farming sector is "fundamental for the Argentine economy and more so every day. We need digital solutions to make a business more agile, efficient and competitive, allowing it to break into tomorrow's commerce."

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