Habanero chiles move along a conveyor belt at a packaging facility in Mexico. (Photographer: Susana Gonzalez/Bloomberg)

Cryptocurrency Backed by Habanero Peppers Is a Thing in Mexico

(Bloomberg) -- 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.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.