DeBeers is launching an industry-wide blockchain to guarantee diamond purity

The influx of conflict diamonds through fictitious means has raised an increasing awareness on the fight against the natural resource’s exploitation, as a means to ensure originality and protection of these stones, the diamond industry decided to embrace blockchain to build a shared digital global ledger.

Diamond business wholeheartedly embraced the blockchain, a distributed computing technology that powers cryptocurrencies to produce an indelible, tamper-proof ledger.

Taking the blockchain a step forward, De Beers aims to launch the first industry-wide blockchain to track gems each time they change hands, starting from the moment they are dug from the ground.

As the world’s biggest diamond producer by the value of its gems, De Beers is leading industry efforts to verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems could be used to finance violence.

The use of blockchain in the industry stems from the fact that the technology offers a secure way to track diamonds, provides a digital record signifying a conflict-free diamond and it complements existing methods.

For De Beers, cast-iron guarantees its stones are ethically sourced and vital to maintaining consumer confidence. It sells technology across the industry to help prevent anyone trying to pass off synthetic stones as natural.

Speaking on the usefulness of Blockchain, CEO Bruce Cleaver stated, “It’s a huge public ledger as immutable as anything invented, It’s a much more un-hackable system than anything on a single server.”

“It has the ability to be very significant for the industry, and it could reassure banks financing the industry and would make the mining supply chain more efficient and transparent”.

De Beers might be the first to launch an industry-wide blockchain, it however, is not the first diamond business to use blockchain.  Everledger embraced the technology in 2015. Since then Everledger has used the machine vision which record 40 metadata points to create a unique thumbprint of each stone. Around 1.6 million diamonds reside Everledger’s blockchain.

The diamond blockchain, which De Beers says will be the first to span the entire value chain, would be open to everyone in the industry and would offer the potential for monitoring each stone as it could help guarantee the ethical origins of other minerals, such as those used in electric vehicles.