Tracking the coffee from production to the cup with Blockchain, IoT and thethings.iO

At thethings.iO IoT platform, we love to work with students. In this case, Carles was doing his engineering thesis at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) on a very exciting topic, Blockchain on the asset tracking coffee world.

The necessity to improve the working conditions of coffee exporting countries combined with the high demand of this product in the world opens a great opportunity to work hand in hand with technology. In the case of the high quality coffee, where production, field and manufacturers need to be tracked, it’s the perfect scenario to bring up state of the art technologies. The goal is to improve the trust and transparency on the chain. And this is the context of the bachelor final project, developed at thethings.iO during the last 5 months.

So, the goal of the project is not only to track coffee manufacturers, exportation and further steps. Moreover, also to show all of this with transparency and traceability to the high quality coffee drinkers.

The project pretends to connect coffee production towards the consumption. From the farmers with the final client. The espresso client should be able to know each step of the production line, starting at the very beginning, when the farmer collects the grain or even previously, until the cup of espresso is on the table, ready to be tasted. Moreover, we do a transparency exercise: The farmer is flesh and blood and we want the client to know the names and surnames who made it possible.

Challenge: Blockchain and IoT

This challenge has brought us the opportunity to implement a solution with a technology widely used these days: Blockchain and IoT. Blockchain is massive replicated ledger formed by blocks where each other is linked by hashes. Nobody can delete neither modify transactions. That way, when a client checks the steps of the production line he or she has the certainty that the coffee comes from the field, manufacturer and country that the distributor says and with a certain working conditions for the farmer. And the Internet of Things (IoT) to automatize, in some parts of the flows, the data acquisition from sensors, trackers and coffee machines, among others.

The result of these months of hard work has been a prototype implemented on thethings.iO IoT platform with a Blockchain platform. On the other hand, we have designed the network, the chaincode (smart contracts for all the actors of the workflows) and deployed a development and production environment.

This final work was presented on July 2019 at the University with a demo where the Blockchain and thethings.iO IoT platform were connected to sensors on the coffee farmlands.

From now, thethings.iO IoT Platform can bring Blockchain systems to you. Contact us if you need to connect any of your assets with a inmutable and secure database for you and all the actors of the project.