A blockchain is a database containing transaction details, information and records called blocks. Blockchains allow consumers to find out where their food came from by simply scanning what is known as a QR code, found on the packaging of their food, with their smart phone. Proponents of agricultural blockchain platforms say it will give farmers and graziers more control than ever over their commodities. Blockchain would revolutionise how producers reached their customers, and prevent food fraud. Scanning QR codes on food to find out where it came from, and paying more for that opportunity. Basically, a blockchain in an online marketplace or network can be used to bring together different parties to do business from all over the world. A blockchain can have many different uses, but what people are really excited about is using them to buy and sell goods, because within a blockchain there can be wealth of data stored that buyers and sellers can view. There can also be a currency — known as a cryptocurrency — that business is carried out in. Bitcoin is one example of a cryptocurrency that has broken into the mainstream, but there are many others.
Because a blockchain exists in no one country and does not use a traditional currency, it operates completely outside the traditional banking framework. It links buyers and sellers directly to a wealth of data on what they are buying or selling. Advocates of blockchains say their security is guaranteed because they are decentralised and transparent networks. A number of businesses are trying to enter into this space and allow the international trading of agricultural commodities through blockchains and using cryptocurrencies