Jewelry Business Insight

De Beers is Embracing Diamond Tracking Based On Blockchain Technology

De Beers is Embracing Diamond Tracking Based On Blockchain Technology

Global diamond conglomerate De Beers has decided to embrace diamond tracking and supply chain transparency with a plan to create what it says will be an “inclusive” platform built on blockchain, the innovative technology that acts as a public ledger for transactions made using cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

“[D]iamonds must stand for enduring value that is grounded in confidence,” wrote De Beers CEO Bruce Cleaver in a blog post announcing the blockchain initiative.

“Confidence that [a stone] has been responsibly sourced, confidence in its value and confidence that it is the real thing.”

According to Cleaver, De Beers is “investing in a new platform that will provide a […] record that traces a diamond’s individual journey” and claims that the platform will be the first diamond tracking initiative to track a stone through the entire value chain.

De Beers says that it will use blockchain to underpin software applications that could be built to work on top of the technology, for example a diamond trading platform or a consumer solution.

Blockchain allows transactions to be registered in a database and makes transaction histories transparent and ostensibly tamper-proof. The technology is used to track transactions of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, a decentralized digital currency and payment network that allows users to make peer-to-peer payments. Details about Bitcoin transactions are published to the blockchain, allowing anyone to view Bitcoin transactions dating back to the very first instance of Bitcoin’s use.

In the financial industry, banks are increasingly experimenting with blockchain-enabled applications and services. Banks in China, India, Japan and Delaware – a state where many companies are headquartered, thanks to low corporate tax rates – are working with blockchain to find out how the technology can support their operations. Most of the experiments involve record-keeping, but one group of banks in Japan is using a blockchain-based payment system to handle payments.

Transaction details include the order in which transactions occurred, who transacted, and what the transaction involved, while other more-sensitive information is kept confidential – a key concern for the diamond industry.

Cleaver emphasized that the De Beers solution will be a “shared resource” for the industry that will provide benefits to all “who expect to buy and sell with confidence”.

Nathan Munn |

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