Diamonds tracked with blockchain for the first time

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On Thursday, Global diamond giant De Beers announced that it has tracked 100 high-value diamonds from the mine going to the retailer using blockchain technology.

“This is the first time a diamond’s journey has been digitally tracked from mine to retail,” as said on their Thursday press release.

Tracr is expected to launch later this year and is expected to open to the entire diamond industry said De Beers with its new platform. The effort was reportedly undertaken so as to enhance the consumer confidence and public trust which De Beers diamonds were of non-conflict as an addition to the increasing efficiency in the supply chain. Conflict diamonds are certain uncut diamonds which are mined in a war-zone and traded to illicitly fund the fighting.

As Tracr was developed by De Beers along with five leading diamond manufacturers which are: Diacore, Diarough, KGK Group, Rosy Blue NV, and Venus Jewel.

“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. This is a significant breakthrough made achievable by the close engagement of the pilot participants who share our commitment to industry progress and innovation…” as said by Bruce Cleaver, the CEO of De Beers Group.

Tracr assigns a unique “Global Diamond ID” that records individual diamond characteristics like carat, clarity, and color. The gathered data is then consolidated to an immutable digital ledger, after which the Tracr verifies the data at each milestone of the diamond’s movement from the mine up to the retailer. This plot program was actually initially announced in January.

There have been previous efforts that were made at the international level to curb the trade of ‘blood diamonds’. The Kimberley Process Certification Scheme was formed by a UN General Assembly resolution in 2000 by binding participants a number of legally enforceable standards and certifications in the diamond industry by entering the world market as the Canadian NGO Impact have already left the agreement in January by stating that the process was insufficient.

De Beers, which was founded in 1888, operated in 35 countries worldwide with mines in Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, and Canada. De Beers held a monopoly on the world diamond trade up until the early 21st century, when pressure from various countries with large stockpiles and increased public awareness of conflict diamonds have pressured them to change their business model. In 2014, the global diamond trade had become worth $81.4 billion.

In April, leaders of the diamond and precious metals industries were partnered with IBM to develop the Trust Chain initiative which is a blockchain platform that will purportedly provide more transparency in the industry. In the same way as the Tracr, the initiative is designed to track precious metals and gems from their origin going to the retailer.

While in February a Canadian diamond company, the Lucara Diamond, have appointed a new CEO in a move to modernize the company. Eira Thomas is set to lead the company after purchasing Clara Diamond Solutions, a digital platform which uses blockchain technology to ensure the origin of diamonds.

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