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Integrating Blockchain Technology Into The Diamond Industry

Bitcoin and Blockchain

De Beers Group, a member of the Anglo American plc group, began in 1888 and today is a world leader in the diamond industry and the largest diamond producer in Botswana, Canada, Namibia and South Africa. De Beers Group is now tackling blockchain technology to revolutionize the diamond industry across the globe. In January 2018, the company announced that it was launching the “first blockchain technology initiative to span the diamond value chain and provide a single, tamper-proof and permanent digital record for every diamond registered on the platform.”[1]

Blockchain technology is most widely known for its use as a digital wallet for the popular cryptocurrency Bitcoin. Blockchain technology is an open-platform, decentralized digital ledger that records transactions without the use of an intermediary. The peer-to-peer system permits users to verify transactions, making it efficient and most importantly tamper-proof. In the diamond industry, there are various platforms that record and certify diamonds for authentication and tracking, such as the Gemological Institute of America, which provide an additional layer of security for those in the business of buying and selling diamonds. However, if this was integrated onto a blockchain, it would create a more effective and secure platform worldwide.

De Beers Group is in the process of integrating blockchain technology with existing systems to ensure that “all registered diamonds are conflict-free and natural, while also enhancing efficiency across the sector.”[2] Using blockchain technology will enable users to view full records of the registered diamonds, while also maintaining privacy and securing commercially sensitive material. Not only are these records secure, but once they are entered into the blockchain they become a part of the permanent records of the ledger, which cannot be changed. De Beers Group explains how using blockchain technology will streamline various processes such as compliance checks and diamond identification. This will help by-pass many lengthy and costly services, thereby cutting costs and saving time.[3] This innovative system will be available to all registered users across the globe, making it inclusive to anyone in the industry.

The CEO of De Beers Group, Bruce Cleaver states:

“Diamonds hold enduring value and represent some of life’s most meaningful moments, so it’s essential to provide assurance that a diamond is conflict-free and natural. 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.

We are very excited about this initiative and the benefits it could deliver across the diamond value chain, from producers through to retailers and consumers.”[4]

The use of blockchain technology will create a more efficient and reliable process when authenticating diamonds and securing payment from the buyer. The technology can also be configured to carry out consignment memoranda using smart contracts, which would allow sellers to securely consign their inventory to buyers.  De Beers Group is paving a new path in the fintech industry, which has the potential of revolutionizing how diamonds are registered and authenticated worldwide.


[1] De Beers Group. (Jan. 16, 2018) “De Beers Group Progresses Development Of First Blockchain Initiative To Span The Diamond Value Chain.” Available at: https://www.debeersgroup.com/en/news/company-news/company-news/de-beers-group-progresses-development-of-first-blockchain-initia.html. Accessed on May 15, 2018.

[2] Ib.

[3] De Beers Group. “FAQS.” Available at: https://www.diamondblockchaininitiative.com/. Accessed on May 15, 2018.

[4] Op. Cit. n1.  

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