Blockchain Lunch & Learn

This week, our very own Mike Vandenbergh, Director of Emerging Technologies for The Seam, led a blockchain lunch & learn at our headquarters. Mike recently joined us at The Seam after previously working at Micopact Global as Vice President of Information Technology.

Check out a few pictures from the session in the slideshow below.

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The Seam Office Grand Opening in the Memphis Business Journal

Greater Memphis Chamber president Phil Trenary and various cotton, peanut and other commodity industry leaders were present as The Seam celebrated its expanded agritech operations this past April. The expansion came after an announcement in January that it was working to form a blockchain-based ecosystem for global trading and field-to-fabric supply chain innovations.

Attendees included: 1. Representatives from The Seam, the Greater Memphis Chamber and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell’s office; 2. Kelly Nelson, Susan Simpson, Teaha Carter and Nikki Barber; 3. Ellen Mitchell, Steve Mitchell and Keith Temple; 4. Jeff Johnson, Tom McCune, Charles Garner, Amy Baine and John Stevens.

This feature appeared in the July 7 edition of the Memphis Business Journal. Grab yourself a copy, and flip to the After Hours section!


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In the Know: This Week’s Blockchain Round-up (July 10, 2017)

In this week’s blockchain round-up, we have compiled three articles on this hot topic. Each one offers a unique perspective into blockchain technology, with an article on the technology’s background to articles on how it will improve IT and its adoption within banks and institutions.

Blockchain explained: All you need to know about the transaction technology

In this article, Mark Mayne breaks down blockchain technology, explaining it to be a relatively simple concept as a decentralized ledger system that is accessible and secure.

Mayne dives into the history of blockchain, with the Bitcoin blockchain concept first taking place in 1998. From there, he goes further into how this technology is more than just an online currency, with businesses and governments showing interest in blockchain technology for its significant cost savings over traditional centralized databases.

Read more here, via IBC365.

Blockchain: what is it good for, in real-world IT?

In this article, CIO contributor, Chris Bovasso, highlights how blockchain has the chance to recreate the world’s financial systems and how it also has the potential to make IT departments more secure and efficient.

Bovasso sheds light on how transactions work within blockchain technology and how they need to be implemented in order to improve IT.

Read more here, via CIO.

Today’s number is about… blockchain adoption

Blockchain technology should transform the market by 2020, with an expected 80 percent of financial institutions to adopt this concept.

This article mentions the future adoption of blockchain within banks and institutions, and gives new perspectives from companies regarding how they feel about the technology, taken from a report by Bain & Company. The report holds a great deal of new information, but one to know is that 35 percent of institutions express that they will implement this new technology before 2018.

Read more here, via BBVA.

The Seam to present at the American Cotton Shippers Association International Cotton Institute and the Texas International Cotton School this summer

It’s been a busy summer this year for The Seam with Chairman and CEO Mark Pryor presenting on blockchain technology in different parts of the U.S. and in Europe. He recently returned from presenting at the European Cocoa Association in Paris on how this technology has the potential to modernize and transform physical commodities trading.

The Seam is dedicated to educating the industry on the future of the cotton industry, as well as furthering their knowledge on blockchain. In the upcoming weeks, Pryor and Charles Garner, Director of Trading at The Seam, will present at the American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA) International Cotton Institute at the University of Memphis on June 26, as well as at the Texas International Cotton School in Lubbock, Texas, in August.

The Seam’s involvement in these schools promotes education within the industry. It’s about the education of technology, as it applies to the cotton industry, and The Seam is frequently involved in collaborative efforts like these to do just that. One of the many goals that The Seam has when presenting is to help students understand the significance of working with a system of transactions that are secure, distributed and immutable, enabling companies to work together on a foundation of trust, increased speed and reduced interference. Combined with “smart contracts,” the technology has powerful implications for global trade with cross-border settlement and instantaneous transfer of currency or other assets when defined conditions are met.

Blockchain technology encourages broad involvement with the benefits of a network effect, whereby a service becomes more valuable the more participation it has. With both of these international programs, The Seam hopes to educate students by offering a new perspective on blockchain technology from field to fabric.

The ACSA International Cotton Institute at the University of Memphis

This six week program provides a basic education on all aspects of the cotton industry and its international business environment, offering an in-depth look at cotton from virtually every perspective from production to processing, and manufacturing. This year, the Institute will take place at the Fogelman Executive Conference Center and Hotel at the University of Memphis. Students will attend cotton classing lessons and classroom lectures.

Students at the Cotton Institute will also attend field trips such as a visit to USDA headquarters and a trip to Cotton Inc. in North Carolina.

Texas International Cotton School

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The Lubbock Cotton Exchange, in conjunction with The Fiber & Biopolymer Research Institute and Texas Tech University, is proud to host the 37th session of the Texas International Cotton School. This session will be held August 7-18, 2017 in Lubbock, Texas. The School aims to give students a basic knowledge of U.S. cotton production, processing and marketing systems. The School focuses on staying up-to-date on their curriculum to stay ahead of advances affecting the cotton industry from field to fabric.

The Seam has helped lower the overall costs to market through the use of technology, which aims to gives graduates of this program an understanding of this new technological leap.

The Seam Chairman and CEO presents at the European Cocoa Association in Paris

On June 12, our Chairman and CEO, Mark Pryor, spoke at the European Cocoa Association (ECA) in Paris on how blockchain technology has the potential to modernize and transform physical commodities trading.

“The cocoa blockchain will be transformative for global trade, increasing efficiencies through its secure, trusted, industry-shared, digital ledger,” Mark said.

Mark spoke about the cocoa blockchain as a common digital legend that will soon unite the supply chain. With blockchain technology, documents are cryptographically recorded once and then preserved forever. Cocoa is visibly recorded on the blockchain and controlled by the parties involved and protected from the sight of others.

“For food safety, cocoa blockchain provides provenance and transparency through the immutable recording of transactions, shipments, documents and certifications.”

The ECA is a trade association in Europe that categorizes major companies involved in cocoa bean trade and processing, in warehousing and related logistical activities. Founded in 2000, the Association monitors and reports on developments impacting the cocoa sector at both regulatory and scientific levels. The goal of the ECA is to respond to issues of ongoing globalization, increased regulations and consolidation within the cocoa industry.

“We would also like to thank you for clarifying what could be the Cocoa blockchain – from bean to bar and bar to bean, with the focus on traceability of sustainable cocoa, verification of information, and certification and transactions in an efficient way,” said Catherine Entzminger, ECA Secretary General.

The Association also offers discussions to companies directly or indirectly involved in the cocoa chain from a senior-management level. ECA members represent two-thirds of Europe’s cocoa beans grinding, half of Europe’s industrial chocolate production and 40 percent of the world production of cocoa liquor, butter and powder.

Members of the ECA are directly involved in the cocoa bean trade, processing or production of industrial chocolate. Joining the ECA is a cost-effective way to know regulatory developments that could affect your business before they are even implemented.

To learn more about the ECA, visit

Benchmark survey on blockchain technology in supply chain management released by Chain Business Insights

Chain Business Insights, LLC, an independent research firm, released its first benchmark survey on blockchain in supply chain. The firm, which focuses on the application of blockchain in supply chain management and trade finance, states that the survey provides the current state of play of blockchain in the industry, and can be effectively monitored for change.

“Blockchain’s ability to maintain a tamper-proof, timely record of product movements and related transactions is of huge interest to supply chain practitioners,” says Sherree DeCovny, co-founder and research principal at Chain Business Insights. “It comes at a time when the industry is under intense pressure to deliver improvements in these areas.”

Blockchain is a distributed database that holds records of events and digital data that is tamper-proof, and approximately one-third of respondents are already implementing the technology. Many of those who took the survey indicated that the main reason they used blockchain was to improve supply chain transparency and traceability.

Surveyors believed these were the most important advantages of blockchain:

  • Improves supply chain visibility/transparency
  • Reduces transaction costs
  • Enhances trust between supply chain partners

Other insights on the survey included:

  • 40 percent reported that they plan to implement blockchain within the next year.
  • One-fifth intend to implement the technology within two years.
  • 30 percent have no idea when blockchain might be implemented and are still uncertain with the technology.
  • Big data/analytics, loT, cloud computing and RFID were all listed by participants as technologies that will likely have an impact on supply chain management.

The original article appeared on Modern Materials Handling.

The Seam Chairman and CEO presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting for the American Cotton Shippers Association

On May 25, The Seam Chairman and CEO Mark Pryor, presented on cotton blockchain technology at the American Cotton Shippers Association (ACSA) annual convention. The ACSA is a respected trade association in the U.S. and abroad that represents the merchants of raw cotton.

The presentation broke down how the cotton blockchain will operate, explaining it as a transformative ecosystem that will soon unite the cotton supply chain from field to fabric. Blockchain technology offers a way to track transactions using a collective, secure digital ledger. The best thing about blockchain technology is that users are in complete control of their transactions, through the use of “smart contracts,”  and trades are processed instantaneously.

“Information is usually exchanged between businesses with dissimilar software and re-keyed by parties in the critical path of development,” Pryor said. “This leads to discrepancies along the way, and costly reconciliation.

“With the cotton blockchain, we can now control the parties involved and protect it from the sight of others. This is a very efficient, trustworthy and secure process. With blockchain technology, we are helping to transform the cotton industry, which is something that we are incredibly proud to support.”

2017 marked the 93rd annual meeting of the ACSA. The convention brought together respected industry experts, who presented on various topics of interest to those in attendance. The ACSA handles more than 80 percent of the U.S. cotton sold in domestic and foreign markets. Membership within the ACSA includes promoting the increased use of cotton in the U.S. and abroad, as well as helping to establish other cotton trade organizations.

This year, the meeting took place at the Four Seasons in St. Louis, Missouri. The ACSA is a not-for-profit organization that relies on sponsorships to help cover the costs of the annual convention.

Watch Mark’s introduction video to the cotton blockchain here: