Over the past decade, the diamond industry has come under a lot of scrutiny for the usage of conflict diamonds. Many companies have found it extremely difficult to separate conflict diamonds from those obtained from natural mining. Recently, De Beers Group announced that they would be deploying blockchain technology to help track diamonds from the ground to the customer.
De Beers blockchain project aims to ensure that all their diamonds are conflict-free. Conflict diamonds are generally sold in order to finance widespread violence and war, so limiting their usage will help to reduce their demand. The pilot will be the first of its kind where diamonds are tracked all the way from the mining process to the high street. This will allow diamond suppliers to verify the integrity of their diamonds before they hit the market.
As CEO Bruce Cleaver comments:
“by leveraging blockchain technology, we will provide an additional layer of assurance to consumers and industry participants with every diamond registered on the platform having a record as everlasting as the diamond itself.”
In other words, De Beers blockchain will be used to show customers that all of its products are ethically sourced.
However, in addition to ensuring that all diamonds are ethically sourced, blockchain technology will also ensure the process is efficient as well. Taking a diamond from the ground to supplier, to retailer and customer is incredibly complex. Using blockchain technology will help to shine light on where the process could be improved to boost efficiency.
All the companies involved in De Beers value chain will use the blockchain, and the public ledger technology would be available to everyone in the industry.
Right now the initiative is in development, but the successful implementation of blockchain technology would have massive implications for the entire diamond industry. Blockchain would not only reduce the sale of conflict diamonds but help companies to manage their supply chains more effectively.
In the diamond industry, customers need to have faith in the integrity of retailers in order to buy. It is currently extremely difficult for suppliers and retailers to identify conflict diamonds circulating in the market. Using blockchain technology will ensure that these problematic items do not slip through the net and finance atrocities.