The global diamond industry is consistently fraught with challenges with regard to transparency and trust. For the most part, everyone perseveres to keep detailed and accurate records on the sourcing of stones, lab-grown diamonds that people try to pass off as mined ones, and the transactions that take place between buyers and traders. These are all areas where many experts say blockchain technology can be immensely beneficial.
Every diamond, from the time it is originally mined to when it reaches the consumer, makes a journey that sees it in the hands of numerous people. This constitutes the complete diamond pipeline, including the mining company, purchasing tenders, manufacturing process, trading, and retail. The stone also gets processed by many different technological devices in the meantime. Blockchain can secure this trail from start to finish, and allow for the improvement of trust and transparency. Rough diamonds are mostly cut into several smaller stones, and blockchain can record those operations as well.
This way of storing each stone’s complete history ensures that fewer diamonds are successfully sold with an enhanced or fake report. In addition, it helps preclude ‘blood diamonds’ from gaining traction in the market. The best part of blockchain data is that it will continue to exist forever, meaning that even reselling second hand would not affect a buyer’s chance of knowing its true provenance. With the diamonds industry having seriously struggled at holding widespread consumer confidence, blockchain seems the ideal solution.
In April, IBM announced joint plans with leading jewelry companies, where tracking and authenticating diamonds is the main goal. Said objective would be achieved using their own blockchain platform, called TrustChain initiative. The program is set to track up to six styles of engagement rings, which will hit retail stores before the year is up.
Even De Beers Group has thrown in their chips with blockchain, with an initiative called Tracr. Begun in early 2018, the program will be fully launched before the end of the year. Signet Jewelers reportedly signed on to this, which has done a lot to expand blockchain’s inclusion of smaller diamonds, which is a requirement if the technology must be taken on by standard retailers some day.
Everyone has heard of blockchain by now, but it still needs to go a long way before it gains mainstream use. Many leading players are already checking it out, so there will be a chance to see if it can be the cure-all, which the diamond industry needs.