One of the best use cases to date for blockchain technology is through its adoption in supply chains. Blockchain has the ability to bring efficiency, and assurances of trust into a complex system. One industry that could benefit from a traceable, trustworthy chain is diamond mining. For many years, many consumers will not consider buying a diamond, unless it can be proven that the process in which it was mined was humane.
When mining diamonds, there are what people refer to as conflict, or blood diamonds. These are diamonds that have been mined in countries in various states of unrest. Often these diamonds are mined inhumanely by orders from rebel leaders. Diamonds are a perfect means of raising money to fund their war efforts. The diamonds are small, plentiful, and command a high price. For the worlds consumers, most obviously do not want diamonds obtained through such means, and funding such efforts. The hard part is truly proving that a diamond was obtained through appropriate methods.
By implementing blockchain into the supply chain process, a diamond can be tracked through every stage of its life. Its attributes, and journey can be traced right back to its place of origin. Due to the trustless and immutable nature of blockchain projects, the validity of origin claims can actually be believed. The rise of blockchain is of obvious interest to big players in the diamond industry. In 2017 De Beers backed a venture called TRACR. This project dubs itself as a “comprehensive mine-to-customer traceability solution for the entire diamond industry.” . If the backing of De Beers wasn’t enough, TRACR has now joined forces with SIGNET Jewellers as well. Signet is the largest diamond retailer in the world.
Although TRACR has not fully launched, the pilot project has been going well. To date, De Beers has already traced over 100 diamonds from origin to destination. In a recent media release they stated, “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.” This trail is created by applying a unique global ID to each diamond. This ID contains information regarding the type of cut, clarity, carat, mine origin, and any details relevant to ensure its authenticity. This ID allows for the diamond to be verified as such as each checkpoint along its life. Each of these checkpoints is then recorded on an immutable ledger utilizing blockchain technology.
This process not only aids in allaying consumer concerns over origin and authenticity, but also the companies themselves. It does so through increased efficiency. The current process of trying to track and prove diamonds authenticity is cumbersome. By utilizing blockchain, it is a win-win for corporations and customers alike. In the short period that TRACR has been operating, they have brought aboard the world’s largest diamond companies. If this project proves to be successfully, expect a continuous influx of companies jumping on board.