Consortium of Jewelry Industry Leaders Announce TrustChainApril 26, 18
With De Beers and other diamond industry firms and organizations moving ahead with efforts to develop a blockchain system for the business, veteran computing giant 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 jewelry across the supply chain for increased transparency.
Asahi Refining, a precious metals refiner, Helzberg Diamonds, a U.S. jewelry retailer, LeachGarner, a precious metals supplier, The Richline Group, a global jewelry manufacturer, and UL which provides independent, third party verification, are launching the TrustChain Initiative powered by the IBM Blockchain Platform, delivered via the IBM Cloud.
TrustChain will initially track six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings on the blockchain network. As the program develops, Trustchain jewelry 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 organizations, led by UL as the administrator.”
Meanwhile, Bridget van Kralingen, IBM Senior Vice President, Global Industries, Platforms and Blockchain, said: “Consumers care deeply about the quality and source of the jewelry they purchase. 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 seeks to track and authenticate diamonds and precious metals through every stage of the supply chain as it becomes a piece of finished jewelry. 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 organizations across the complex and multi-tiered jewelry 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 digitize 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, according to a statement released by the companies.
“For consumers, TrustChain establishes a trusted product with documented provenance and brings together quality assurance, social and environmental responsibility, and authenticity spanning the entire jewelry ecosystem – from miners, manufacturers, wholesale suppliers and retailers – on a single digital platform.”
As for the parties involved in this important new initiative: Asahi Refining is a wholly owned subsidiary of Asahi Holdings Inc., and a precious metal refiner, trader, and bullion product manufacturer. It maintains LBMA-certified London good delivery refineries in the USA and Canada and serves a global client base from the mining, recycling, banking and bullion trading industries.
Helzberg Diamonds is a retail and online fine jewelry firm founded in 1915 and which has more than 200 stores throughout the United States.
IBM is recognized as a leading enterprise blockchain provider which has developed advanced cryptography to secure transactions and contribute millions of lines of open source code to advance blockchain for businesses.
Meanwhile, LeachGarner provides a comprehensive range of melt to market products and expansive technical expertise portfolio in the precious metals industry.
Richline Group, Inc. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and one of the USA’s foremost fine jewelry manufacturers and marketers. The other major brands comprising Richline’s portfolio are Inverness, LeachGarner, Rio Grande and Richline Jewelry.