De Beers is using blockchain to track diamond supply and making the platform available to the industry

De Beers has employed the use of blockchain to track 100 high-value diamonds from miners and retailers in a bid to purge its supply chain of imposters and conflict minerals. Blockchain is a distributed computing technology that powers cryptocurrencies to produce an indelible, tamper-proof ledger.

“An immutable and secure digital trail was created for a selection of rough diamonds mined by De Beers as they moved from the mine to cutter and polisher, then through to a jeweller,” De Beers said in a statement on Thursday.

The world’s biggest diamond producer by the value of its gems is invested in industry initiatives that will help verify the authenticity of diamonds and ensure they are not from conflict zones where gems may be used to finance violence. De Beers noted that five diamond manufacturers – Diacore, Diarough, KGK Group, Rosy Blue NV and Venus Jewel – worked with the company to develop the blockchain platform called Tracr, which will be launched and made available to the rest of the industry at the end of the year.

“The Tracr project team has demonstrated that it can successfully track a diamond through the value chain, providing asset-traceability assurance in a way that was not possible before,” said De Beers chief executive Bruce Cleaver.

Influx of conflict diamonds through fictitious means has raised 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. 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, 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, however, it is not the first diamond business to use blockchain. Everledger embraced the technology in 2015. Since then, Everledger has used the machine vision, which records 40 metadata points to create a unique thumbprint of each stone. Around 1.6 million diamonds reside Everledger’s blockchain.