Emma Weston Conducts World's First Live Settlement via Blockchain | Future Agro Challenge

Emma Weston Conducts World’s First Live Settlement via Blockchain

Emma Weston had other plans for her career, neither agriculture or technology were part of her foreseeable future. She studied law at the University of Melbourne, and worked in private practice after graduating, but quickly realized becoming a partner in a law firm didn’t feel right for her.

Her path changed with a phone call from a recruiter inquiring her interest in a role as an in-house counsel at the Australian Wheat Board (AWB).  The organization held the export monopoly for wheat, and the domestic market had been deregulated a few years earlier. The government would no longer guarantee wheat payments to farmers and it had to privatize.

After three years in the legal team at AWB, Weston moved into management and worked in various positions. This gave her an understanding of all aspects of the industry.  Weston first met her husband and business partner Bob McKay, who comes from a farming family, he managed the domestic trade division at AWB. After the complete deregulation of Australia’s wheat market, Weston joined McKay’s company Agfarm with a view to growing it from a small grain agency to a grain broker representing farmers, before moving into finance.  The company was later sold.

A few years later, the pair partnered with a former employee and farmer Ben Reid to start AgriDigital – a technology company leveraging their expertise across the whole supply chain.

Australia is a leader in blockchain – something that can be partly attributed to the Australian Securities Exchange replacing its current settlement system (CHESS) with blockchain-enabled software.

In December 2016, Weston’s company, AgriDigital, conducted the world’s first live settlement of a physical commodity via blockchain. Also known as distributed ledger or shared ledger technology, blockchain records all transactions for an asset in a new type of database that can be shared with many parties, but never changed or deleted.

Each record, or transaction, is entered into a ‘block’ and as more transactions occur, each block is chained on to the previous and subsequent blocks, forming a full and complete record. It also allows smart contracts, where the terms of the contract are recorded in computer code and able to auto-execute on the shared ledger.

Weston believes blockchain has the potential to make trade more efficient, reduce fraud and make it easier to trace food through the supply chain.

Emma Weston will join us at the Global Agripreneurs Summit 2018.  Pre-Registration is Open, seats are limited.