Watr, Parity Technologies partner to build African blockchain for ethically sourced commodities
Africa-focused blockchain startup Watr has joined forces with Parity Technologies to create a decentralized solution for tracking ethical commodities. Parity is best known as the technical team behind Polkadot, one of the world’s leading blockchain networks. It was created by Dr. Gavin Wood, who also co-founded Ethereum.
Climate change, social justice, and provenance of goods are of great concern to consumers in the western world, where ESG (environmental, social, governance) affects corporate actions. Given that many of the commodities exported to the west originate from African countries, Watr believes blockchain can provide supply chain transparency, giving buyers confidence in the source and quality of goods.
Watr Foundation Council President Maryam Ayati hailed “the opportunity to create new classes of ethical commodities and traded supply chains,” emphasizing the benefit of having Parity’s technical skills to call upon in developing the infrastructure. Products being developed by Watr and its partners include a decentralized identity and KYC application, a system for provenance tracing, and a platform for trading tokenized carbon credits.
Web3 Developers Want to Save the World
Parity Technologies and Watr are developing tools for web3, a new internet standard that relies on blockchain, tokens, and decentralized identities. The idea is to create a more open internet where users control their data, and cryptocurrency can serve as money for the unbanked and hard to bank. Convincing the rest of the world that web3 is the future of the internet, however, requires making it easier for everyday people to access this technology and benefit from its many use cases.
Omar Elassar of Parity Technologies believes his company’s partnership with Watr is “a first step on the path towards greater adoption of web3 within a massive industry that’s crucial to the global economy.” Because blockchains are public networks that can be viewed by anyone, they’re ideal for tracking goods as they move from producer to shipper, retailer, and ultimately consumer. Watr hopes its products will support the trade of ethical commodities that are preferentially sourced by discerning buyers.
The system Watr has created for this purpose has been given the grand name of the Digital Commons for Ethical Commodities. It describes the financing, trade, and tracking of these items using blockchain technologies. Also known as “decentralized” technology because no single party controls it, unlike a conventional database, blockchain can aid transparency, liquidity, and sustainability for resources and commodities such as metals, energy, and food. If Watr’s system is widely adopted by African commodities operators, it will boost sustainable trade, while ensuring a fairer deal for local producers.