IBM Introduces Blockchain to Authenticate Bling
TrustChain is a new initiative aiming to help customers determine whether gems and minerals have been ethically mined and manufactured.
Leaders in the gold and diamond industry have partnered with IBM to develop a blockchain network for tracing the origin of finished pieces of jewelry, IBM announced in a blog post April 26.
TrustChain’s website says they want to use blockchain to track “the jewelry supply chain from the mines of origin of the diamond and precious metals, through to the refining, polishing, jewelry manufacturing and shipping the final product to the retail store.” By creating one central database with third-party administrators, the technology addresses a major consumer demand and forces companies to be open about where their goods came from.
“TrustChain uses distributed ledger technology that establishes a shared, immutable record of transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time,” IBM said in its press release. “By applying the technology to digitize processes, a new form of command and consent is introduced into the flow of information, empowering those in the blockchain network to collaborate and establish a single shared view of information without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.”
Catherine Malkova, IBM’s Client Immersion Program Leader, wrote in a blog post that the size and scale of the jewelry industry made it necessary for all of the disparate players to come together and find a solution to a persistent problem affecting employees and customers.
“Whether or not your company follows ethical practices affects both its reputation and consumer trust. In the jewelry industry, this is especially important,” Malkova wrote in the post. “Consumers should be able to easily determine whether the gold, diamonds and gems in their jewelry are mined and manufactured ethically and responsibly.”
The technology will initially help track six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings and is expected to be available to consumers by the end of 2018, the companies said. The gold will come from Couer’s Wharf Mine in South Dakota and the diamonds will be sourced from Rio Tinto’s diamond mines in Australia and Canada.
IBM is also working with large food retail companies on a blockchain platform to help track food supply chains and improve safety.