Like any good piece of technology, Tracr, the blockchain platform currently being developed by De Beers, aims to solve problems. What’s notable about this technology is that it aims to relieve no less than five of the industry’s enduring headaches, from synthetic detection to “know your customer” compliance.
Following a panel presentation at this year’s JCK Las Vegas, two of the people behind this new platform gave JCK a sneak preview on the aims and goals of this much-talked-about industry initiative.
At its root, Tracr is simply another platform that tracks diamonds as they move through the value chain, from mine to store counter. At first blush, that doesn’t seem all that revolutionary, as such programs already exist.
However, most of those programs are based on company record-keeping. Like the Gemological Institute of America’s Mine to Market program, Tracr hopes to use scientific data to uniquely identify each diamond by developing what it calls a Global Diamond ID.
“We can pick out 200 different characteristics that exist from each stone,” says Deepak Gopalakrishna, director of global blockchain projects for BCG Digital Group, which is helping develop the platform. “What we use is a subset of those to create a unique signature.”
Gopalakrishna says that to track a diamond throughout the value chain, you need to solve three distinct problems: You must determine the characteristics that uniquely identify a piece of rough; you must do the same for a piece of polished; and, the most challenging, you must be able to match the piece of polished with the rough it comes from.
“All three problems have different solutions that utilize different characteristics,” says Gopalakrishna. “We have working solutions to all three.”
He is keeping mum on just how those solutions work—noting they are still being tested. But he believes the Tracr solution outdoes all the others.
In its pilot phase, Tracr has been able to track, and definitively ID, 200 different diamonds. Currently, the platform can track a rough stone of only 2 cts. and above, though it hopes to eventually work on any size stone.
To have a better understanding of Tracr: “We believe that the Blockchain platform has great transformative potential for the industry” Tom Montgomery, De Beers