IBM and a consortium of gold and diamond industry leaders have announced a cross-industry initiative to use blockchain to trace the provenance of finished pieces of jewellery across the supply chain for increased transparency. Asahi Refining (precious metals refiner), Helzberg Diamonds (U.S. jewelry retailer), LeachGarner (precious metals supplier), The Richline Group (global jewellery manufacturer) and UL (independent, third party verification) are launching the TrustChainTM Initiative, powered by the IBM Blockchain Platform, delivered via the IBM Cloud.
TrustChain is initially tracking six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the blockchain network. As the program continues to develop, Trustchain™ jewellery is expected to be accessible to consumers in participating retail stores by the end of 2018.
Mark Hanna, Richline Group’s Chief Marketing Officer, commented: “This initiative is important for our industry as we seek to raise the collective responsibility and provenance practices to new heights. TrustChain is the first blockchain of its kind within our industry, designed as a solution that marries IBM’s leading blockchain technology with responsible sourcing, verification and governance by third party organizations, led by UL as the administrator,”
Senior Vice President of Industry Platforms and Blockchain, Bridget van Kralingen said: “The global scale and complexity of the jewellery market makes it ripe for blockchain to serve as a unifier for all participants to improve trust, transparency and efficiency. It also illustrates the ways in which blockchain can be used to form entirely new business models where all parties win. The collaboration will benefit not only trade partners, but also the individuals wo matter most – consumers purchasing gold and diamonds to mark milestone moments in their lives.”
The TrustChain Initiative tracks and authenticates diamonds and precious metals through every stage of the supply chain as it becomes a piece of finished jewellery. It provides digital verification, physical product and process verification, and third-party oversight. The collaboration’s goal is to instil trust in the origin and ethical sourcing of jewellery by bringing together a community of responsible and ethical organizations across the complex and multi-tiered jewellery supply chain.
Built by IBM Services on open source technology and based on IBM Blockchain and the Hyperledger Project, TrustChain uses distributed ledger technology that establishes a shared, immutable record of all the transactions that take place within a network and then enables permissioned parties access to trusted data in real time. By applying the technology to digitise processes, it will empower those in the blockchain network to collaborate and establish a single shared view of information without compromising details, privacy or confidentiality.
For consumers, TrustChain establishes a trusted product with documented provenance and brings together quality assurance, social and environmental responsibility and authenticity spanning the jewellery ecosystem – from miners, manufacturers, wholesale suppliers and retailers – on a single digital platform.