Trading coffee beans via bitcoin
Technology and travelers have made direct-from-source coffee popular for a while now, with unique point: it will trade beans only for bitcoin.
This business is recognizes as The Roast Station Project leaded by JB Allen. Before his first e-commerce bloom, Allen has travelled around the world, has hauled 20 countries, living in South Korea, Japan and New Zealand before finding himself in the town of Ubud. Allen became internationally mobile by taking all possible advantages of internet: learning marketing online, how to use software, B2B courses and finally he got interest in e-currency. From now Allen is one of a growing number of online entrepreneurs who work at home, or at least a string of temporary bases, in Southeast Asia. The overall picture – Allen belongs to certain kind of Lifestyle Businesspeople or just location-independent CEOs. They also tend towards a libertarian worldview, tired of the borders and bureaucracies and, above all, they encounter local currencies on a regular basis.
“ Everything started from simple interest in digital currency”… – says Allen, – I began follow new e-currency vie free blogs and website and all independent market research took me a year and a half. I downloaded my first wallet and started ‘playing’ with the currency – this is back when it was trading around USD$8 for one BTC. On the other hand, I was always trying to keep an eye open for the good potential deals.” At the end of his laptop-powered journey Allen arrived in Indonesia and found out the accelerant in the world of coffee. He saw how middlemen within the coffee trade ecosystem serve as a series of barriers that distance bean growers from their final consumers.
Loans to farmers by brokers and middlemen from large corporate buyers force them to sell huge quantities of product for a bargain basement price. With time pressures and prices so low, there is little incentive to produce a higher quality harvest. The end result is low-quality, unripe or even rotten beans finding their way into consumer packaging.
Save coffee from the middlemen
One the exciting opportunities of bitcoin – it can remove lots of middlemen. “Bitcoin has opened the door to a whole new level of person to person exchange and individual freedom, which is one reason why I wanted to be involved,” said Allen – imagine a world where large coffee farm can deal directly with smaller end-buyers and even larger multinationals, trading their coffee via bitcoin, then converting currency in their own area – lots of benefits for everyone.”
Allen made a serious coffee industry observation: he had visited local farms, learned about their production, met dealers to learn about processing and pricing and to learn about flavor profiles and the retail side of the equation. He purchased his own small-batch gas roaster (a 1.2kg w600 designed in Indonesia) to begin roasting the different coffees he sourced direct from the farms. That’s when his ‘hobby’ started to become a full-time passion.
A whole new level
“I started to send gifts to my friends and relatives, sampling my coffees. I achieved a lot quantity of roasting, hence haven’t yet sold coffee for fiat currencies.” Allen needed something more substantial to convince the locals of bitcoin’s benefits, so the Roast Station Project exists now to prove a point. He needed to show them customers would not only pay a premium price for coffee roasted and shipped immediately from the source, but they would also use an unfamiliar electronic currency to make fast, secure transactions.
The Roast Station Project might be only a week old, but already is getting bitcoin followers, laptop nomads, location-free entrepreneurs, traveling programmers and simply real coffee lovers. Project has united all these group of people, making orders and with ability to deliver good product within 72 hours worldwide.
“I’m able to live the way I do because of technologies that encourage international trade, cross cultural communication and individual freedom. Bitcoin helps with all of that – at a whole new level”- shares Allen.