I first heard of the patent-pending project calling itself the Integrated Nano-Science Commodity Exchange (INSCXTM) earlier this year. It appears that INSCX intends to develop a global commodity exchange for nanomaterials.
In February of this year the project announced its formal agreement with AssuredNanoTM to “coordinate the global accreditation of supply onto the market platform which is scheduled to launch in the UK early 2011.” My reaction to the prospect of a nanomaterials commodity exchange was mixed. My initial thoughts were what nanomaterials can we really place in the category of a commodity? How will this be different than the various stock indexes that were established around so-called nanotech companies, like Toyota? The blog Frogheart has posted the first of a three-part interview with Charles McGovern, the Chief Executive Officer of INSCX, that aims at answering some of these and many more informed questions. While it becomes clear through the interview that establishing a commodity exchange could help both buyers and sellers in maintaining both pricing structures and conformity in product quality, it shouldn’t be forgotten that commodity exchanges are also built around speculation and whether the future prices of a commodity come in above or below a spot price. Ultimately the success or failure of the commodity exchange will depend largely on whether the buyers and sellers of these nanomaterials really find it beneficial to their business to support it.
Dexter Johnson is a contributing editor at IEEE Spectrum, with a focus on nanotechnology.
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