Commodity trading is a very old industry that focuses on raw materials, like lead or copper, that are worth hundreds of billions. These materials are constantly moving from producers to consumers in a global market worth about $80 billion, but it often lacks efficiency and transparency. Meanwhile, intermediaries make a lot of money just by acting as the middlemen. That’s where blockchain could, in theory, be applied, but introducing great transparency.
Open Mineral, a physical commodities trading platform, has now closed an investment round ($2.25 million) to do just that.
The idea is to increase the efficiency of the market for base and precious metal raw materials using blockchain. Its digital platform, Open Mineral Exchange, will bring together sellers and buyers, mining and metals companies, allowing them to transact directly and securely, without intermediaries. It will also digitize and streamline the complicated and paper-heavy process.
These newer trading platforms for physical commodities have been appearing in the last couple of years. Tradecloud, for example, addresses the refined metal market, while Metalshub focuses on ferroalloys. None of the current platforms use blockchain.
The Open Mineral model will rely on a success-based fee, which will depend on the value/chemical composition of the material and the volume transacted. The platform currently focuses on zinc, lead, copper, gold and silver concentrate markets, but could expand into other concentrates in the future.
Open Mineral became the first startup to join Thomson Reuters Incubator based in Zug, which is famously spinning out blockchain startups. Investors include Goldcorp, a Canadian gold mining company, and Xploration Capital.
The company is founded by Boris Eykher and Ilya Chernilovskiy. Before co-founding Open Mineral, Eykher and Chernilovskiy both worked at Glencore, the largest commodity trading house in the world. The company is headquartered in Baar, Switzerland with operations in Beijing, Lima and Moscow.