Bayer Crop Science and Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba, have partnered to develop a blockchain-based system for agricultural product monitoring.
Both firms signed a letter of intent to use blockchain technology to boost efficiency enhance the income of farmers, ensure the production of high-quality food and help in digitization of agriculture.
The deal would bring together the portfolio and digital farming technologies of Monheim am Rhein, Germany-based Bayer Crop Science, and the Chinese Ant Financial, which is the blockchain division of Hangzhou.
Details of the agreement in terms of size or structure of the deal were not revealed, though Geoff Jiang, vice president and general manager of Ant Financial’s Intelligent Technology Group, said:
“Together with Bayer, our exploration of blockchain in agriculture will improve the transparency and responsiveness of its supply chain, and bring more value to consumers, farmers and the society.”
Ant Financial was established in 2014 and is 33% owned by Alibaba. One of its famous brands include Alipay, which is a dominant mobile payment services in China.
The firm has made some blockchain-related investments and dealings in recent years. In 2018 alone, Ant Financial raised $14 billion to pursue new technological developments, such as those related to blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and IoT.
Earlier this month, Ant Financial announced that it was creating a blockchain system for charity sites, improving the openness of the process and preventing charities from inflating their fund-raising totals.
Back in May, the firm invested in a $10 million Series A round for QEDIT, a developer of privacy solutions for the blockchain.
And in March, two Shanghai-based startups were launched – Ant Blockchain Technology and Ant Doublechain Technology – both owned by Ant Financial.
The company is also working to use the blockchain for remittances. Last year, Ant Financial introduced a system for the channeling of funds between the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Bayer Crop Science itself acquired Monsanto in 2018 and has been actively working on the blockchain developments. Around the beginning of this year, it signed a deal with BlockApps, a ConsenSys spinout.