De Beers is piloting what it calls the “first diamond blockchain to span the entire value chain.”
The idea is “to create a tamper-proof, immutable, absolutely trustworthy public ledger that will follow the path of a diamond along its journey,” CEO Bruce Cleaver tells JCK.
What’s unique about this is that De Beers will offer the technology to the industry at large later this year. And while De Beers is leading the project, the plan is to develop an open-source platform in conjunction with other industry players that will eventually be managed by an independent foundation.
We have a larger explanation of blockchain and how it might apply to diamonds here. But basically, blockchain creates a decentralized database backed up by several computers. The idea is that technology recorded in multiple locations is harder to tamper with.
The company is still trying to figure out how it wants to use the technology, but it clearly sees the initiative as a potential game changer: a way to provide greater assurance to consumers that diamonds are natural and conflict-free.
Cleaver says that it might also provide comfort to the industry’s banks, allowing them to trace the diamonds they are financing. “They will have greater visibility for the people they are lending to,” he says.
And it might also provide an easier way to track diamonds for security reasons.