The king of beer in the US and parent company to Budweiser has announced a new investment into blockchain technology that will help farmers improve their efficiency.
Anheuser-Busch InBev, which holds a market cap of $143 billion and $54 billion in annual revenue, is looking to get into blockchain in a big way. On June 7, the publicly traded company announced an expansion of its Series A investment into BanQu, a Minnesota-based startup working to create blockchain products for global supply chains.
BanQu describes its targeted base of farmers, miners, and other workers as frequently overlooked in discussions of improving the efficiencies based on supply chains. BanQu describes this group as the ‘last mile’ of the chain, who often don’t qualify for bank accounts and are the mercy of expensive and inefficient middlemen to bring their raw materials to market.
Anheuser-Busch InBev describes its investment into blockchain as returning to the roots of the technology. While blockchain has seen adoption by financial and tech goliaths such as Vanguard and IBM, AB InBev claims a desire to use blockchain to help the unbanked populations of the world.
Maisie Devine, a director at Anheuser-Busch InBev, explained the company’s philosophy on investing in blockchain,
“Through this work, we are helping to create a digital ledger of farmers’ transactions that will create an economic identity and enable access to financial services. This will ultimately allow farmers to grow their business and improve the livelihoods of their families and communities.”
Anheuser-Busch InBev joins the growing list of companies expanding into the sector of blockchain as a way to improve upon their existing technology. While some have maligned blockchain for its close association with crypto, others have found the technology preferential. AB InBev instead sees an opportunity to improve upon supply chains and provide for unbanked populations that stand to benefit the most from the improved transparency of the blockchain.
The World Bank estimated that 1.7 billion people were unbanked in 2017, creating a substantial market for cryptocurrency and blockchain in the event the technology is able to reach mass adoption.
Ripple, the parent company to third-largest crypto XRP, has outlined their desire to work with countries such as India and Brazil that could benefit greatly from access to cheap and secure remittance. Stellar Lumens and XLM have also done substantial work as a nonprofit organization to provide for unbanked populations across the globe.
While there are limitations in access and a great degree of complexity involved in blockchain and crypto, the technology can improve operations in regions of the world that have less accessibility to financial institutions. AB InBev and BanQu see an opportunity to both increases the transparency of supply chains moving goods around the world while also substantially reducing costs for those who already have limited access to funds.