A cryptocurrency called Agrocoin is giving buyers a chance to invest in some of the world’s spiciest peppers.
Mexico’s Amar Hidroponia, which grows only habanero chilis, started selling digital tokens in September as a way to raise capital from smaller investors. Each 500 peso ($27) Agrocoin is backed by a square meter of hydroponic production in Quintana Roo state. The company says it expects to pay a yearly dividend equal to about 30 percent of the cost, depending on output and demand.
“We had a lot of people who wanted to invest, but with less money,” company President Rodrigo Domenzain said in an interview from Leona Vicario, a town about 25 miles southwest of Cancun. “Agrocoin allows us to have a new investment product backed by agricultural goods.”
The small peppers are an integral part of Mexican cuisine — particularly in the Yucatan Peninsula where Quintana Roo is located. Agrocoins can be bought on the company’s website, and — after a year-long lockup period — exchanged on a cryptocurrency trading platform. The company has sold 50,000 of the 1 million it’s planning to issue.
This isn’t the first vegetable-related blockchain enterprise. In August last year, startup company Ripe began tracking tomato quality using the technology. Louis Dreyfus Co., one of the world’s biggest foodstuffs traders, used a blockchain platform to sell a cargo of U.S. soybeans to China’s Shandong Bohi Industry Co. in January.