IBM establishes blockchain platform to track jewellery supply chain

By James Henderson
IBM and a consortium of gold and diamond industry leaders have announced the first cross-industry initiative to use blockchain to trace the provenance o...

IBM and a consortium of gold and diamond industry leaders have announced the first 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. jewellery 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 programme continues to develop, TrustChain jewellery is expected to be accessible to consumers in participating retail stores by the end of 2018.

“This initiative is important for our industry as we seek to raise the collective responsibility and provenance practices to new heights,” said Mark Hanna, Richline Group’s Chief Marketing Officer.

“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 organisations, led by UL as the administrator.”

“Consumers care deeply about the quality and source of the jewellery they purchase.”

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Bridget van Kralingen, IBM Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain, said: “This is evidenced by the fact that 66% of consumers globally are willing to spend more to support sustainable brands. TrustChain is an example of how blockchain is transforming industries through transparency and viable new business models that specifically benefit the consumer.”

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 instill trust in the origin and ethical sourcing of jewelry by bringing together a community of responsible and ethical organisations across the complex and multi-tiered jewellery supply chain.

Built by IBM Services on open source technology and based on the IBM Blockchain Platform and the Hyperledger Project, 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.

By applying the technology to digitise 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.

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