Blockchain is Ben and Jerry’s flavour of the month
When you hear the phrase ‘Ben and Jerry blockchain’ you might assume that the ice cream company has become merely the latest company to announce a blockchain project – or just adding “blockchain” to their name – in a bid to cash-in on the hype around the new technology. However, that isn’t the case; the ice cream maker has actually come up with an interesting blockchain project.
At the Ben and Jerry store in central London, the company will pay a penny on every transaction to offset the carbon released into the atmosphere during production of the ice cream. Customers will be asked if they want to match the donation with a penny of their own.
Ice cream emissions
The ice cream business, like most others, has an environmental cost. Whether it’s from the dairy farms that produce the milk, the shipping costs of moving the product to the stores or the fact that, in Ben and Jerry’s case, they sell something that has to be frozen – and thus consume electricity – at all times.
Like a lot of companies, Ben and Jerry’s has bought carbon credits, which offset harmful emissions by funding renewable energy sources of planting forests. However, it’s not easy for customers to know which companies are being responsible and which are not.
Stellar blockchain management
That’s where the blockchain comes in. In a move that absolutely nobody is calling ‘Bitcone’, Ben and Jerry’s will use the Stellar blockchain to divide its carbon credits into microtransactions that can be attached to every sale. The company then passes the purchase information to the Poseidon Foundation, started by Laszlo Giricz, a Swiss banker.
Poseidon then buys tokens to offset the purchase. If the customer is registered with Poseidon, they will eventually be able to use an app to track all their carbon offsets and see which projects they have supported.
The Stellar blockchain underpinning this process was released in 2014 and is run by the non-profit Stellar Development Foundation. Stellar has been used to bolster financial infrastructure in parts of the developing world and has worked in partnership with companies such as IBM and several large banks.