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Photo courtesy of CHO

Large olive oil producer CHO is using IBM's food blockchain to allow customers to track their oil — from the orchard where the olives are grown, through the mill where they are crushed, to the facilities where the oil is filtered and bottled.

Why it matters: Assuring food safety and quality seems to be one of the most compelling uses for the much-hyped technology.

  • CHO is starting with its Terra Delyssa brand, beginning with its most recent harvest. Customers can scan a QR code to get the information on their olives.

The big picture: Olive oil, in particular, has had major issues around provenance and quality, as detailed compellingly in Tom Mueller's book "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil" (which I happen to be reading).

Yes, but: Putting the information on the blockchain makes it decentralized and immutable, but doesn't guarantee the data is good in the first place. To do that, CHO relies on its own testing plus a third-party analysis performed on every lot of oil produced.

Our thought bubble: I get a ton of pitches touting blockchain, usually resulting in a good eye roll. But tracking and assuring the provenance of foods and medicines has always struck me as one of the more compelling uses.

Go deeper: Investors are missing out on the food industry's revolution

Go deeper

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth-quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

Janet Yellen plays down debt, tax hike concerns in confirmation hearing

Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen at an event in December. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.