Bayer Crop Science has agreed to work with Ant Financial, the payments affiliate of Alibaba, to develop a blockchain-based system for agricultural product monitoring.
The companies signed a letter of intent to utilize blockchain technology to increase efficiency, improve the income of farmers, ensure the production of high-quality food and aid in the digitization of agriculture, according to a Sept. 25 announcement.
The agreement would bring together the portfolio and digital-farming technologies of Monheim am Rhein, Germany-based Bayer Crop Science, and the blockchain division of Hangzhou, China-based Ant Financial.
No information was provided about the size of the deal or the structure of the relationship.
“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,” Geoff Jiang, vice president and general manager of Ant Financial’s Intelligent Technology Group, said in the statement.
Ant Financial, founded in 2014, is 33 percent owned by Alibaba. Its brands include Alipay, one of the two dominant mobile payment services in China.
The company has made a number of blockchain-related investments and announcements in recent years. It raised $14 billion in 2018 to pursue new technological developments, including those related blockchain, AI and IoT.
Early this month, Ant Financial said that it was developing a blockchain system for charity platforms, improving the transparency of the process and preventing charities from inflating their fund-raising totals.
In May, the company invested in a $10 million Series A round for QEDIT, a developer of privacy solutions for the blockchain. In March, two new Shanghai-based companies were introduced, Ant Blockchain Technology and Ant Doublechain Technology, both owned by Ant Financial .
Ant Financial is also working to utilize the blockchain for remittances, last year introducing a system for the transfer of funds between the Philippines and Hong Kong.
Bayer Crop Science, which acquired Monsanto in 2018, has been actively working on the blockchain developments. Earlier this year, it signed a deal with BlockApps, a ConsenSys spinout.
Field image via Shutterstock