If Demeter has anything to say about it, the coming years’ harvests will be fruitful for both small farmers and the consumers who value the way they operate. But in this instance, it’s not Demeter, the Greek goddess of harvest behind the push, but a small team of Forbes 30 Under 30 list members who gathered this weekend using the same name to take the first steps towards creating a new kind of investment vehicle powered by blockchain.
While retail and institutional investors alike already invest billions of dollars annually in agribusiness funds, largely consisting of the companies farms rely on, the cost of complying with fund requirements excludes most farms. While some of these funds allow investors to back smaller market cap companies, many independent micro-farms must resort to using state lenders and expensive farm banks or agriculture lenders.
By issuing digital assets backed by actual harvests, using an existing blockchain like ethereum or EOS as the transaction layer, the nascent team behind Demeter believes they can lower the cost to provide high quality investment opportunities to micro-farms that exist on only a few acres of land. By allowing the loans to be easily priced on the open market, they believe they can do so at a much better rate.
But it’s not just the small farmers who lose out by their inability to access low-cost capital, says Demeter co-creator Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, a member of the 2018 30 Under 30 list. Without a publicly traded investment vehicle for everyday retail investors to back ethical farms, the only option consumers have for expressing their financial interest in supporting these farms is by buying the actual food. By using blockchain, the technology behind bitcoin that lets individuals directly transact without a middleman, Seltz-Axmacher and the rest of Demeter believe they can