IBM announced on Thursday (April 26) that it has partnered with a consortium of leading diamond and jewelry companies around the globe to create a blockchain product to authenticate diamonds, precious metals and jewelry.
According to IBM, the blockchain collaboration, dubbed TrustChain, will track and authenticate the jewelry, diamonds and precious metals at all stages of the global supply chain, from the mine to the retailer. According to IBM, TrustChain uses IBM's advanced technology to improve global provenance in the diamond and jewelry supply chain.
"This is a unique collaboration that leverages IBM’s technology and the UL, independent third-party verification, together with five diamond and jewelry companies that represent the entire supply chain: Rio Tinto Diamonds (diamond supplier for proof of concept only), LeachGarner (precious metals supplier), Asahi Refining (precious metal refinery), Helzberg Diamonds (U.S. jewelry retailer) and Richline Group (global jewelry manufacturer)," IBM said in the announcement. The company also noted that the collaborators in TrustChain already employ best practices in managing their supply chains, but this will enable them to provide a new level of assurance to consumers regarding traceability.
Earlier this year, IBM and the shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk announced they were teaming up to create an industry-wide trading platform that they claim will accelerate global trade and save billions of dollars in the process. Maersk and IBM say that blockchain could help manage and track tens of millions of shipping containers around the world, simply by migrating all of that tracking data from paper to digital.
“The big thing that is missing from this industry to digitize and unleash the potential of the technology is really to create a form of utility that brings standards across the entire ecosystem,” Maersk’s chief commercial officer, Vincent Clerc, told Reuters at the time.
Blockchain is finding all sorts of interesting use cases outside digital currencies. For example, it has found a welcome home in supply chain transparency and management. All “blockchain” means is that data is stored and shared across a network of individual computers, so why limit its use to cryptocurrencies?