IBM has been working to build large enterprise projects blockchain and their most recent offering is an irrefutable example that they have dubbed TrustChain, a blockchain that proves the provenance of jewelry by following the supply chain from mine to store. TrustChain is built on IBM’s blockchain technology and includes a consortium of companies involved in every step of the supply chain: Asahi Refining, the precious metals refiner; Helzberg Diamonds, a U.S. jewelry retailer; LeachGarner, a precious metals supplier and The Richline Group, a global jewelry manufacturer. It even includes some third-party verification with UL Labs.
While there are trust mechanisms in place to ensure the authenticity of jewelry, they tend to be more piecemeal and this one is designed to be more comprehensive. One of the primary benefits of using blockchain in this instance is that it’s so much more efficient. Instead shuffling paper, the process becomes much more digital and reduces a lot (although not all) of the manual paper-pushing along the way.
If there is a dispute, instead of calling and following back through the process in a more manual way, you can click on a trusted chain, and you’re able to see what happened immediately. That reduces the number of steps in the process, and speeds up what has been a paper-laden and manual effort.
– Jason Kelley, General Manager [Blockchain Services] IBM
Mr. Kelly acknowledged that errors could be introduced in any system, whether intentional or not, but he says the beauty of this system is that blockchain is a team sport and many, many eyeballs are acting as a check for each step along the way. If a problem is found, it can be fixed through the same level of consensus. By next year, you could be able to pull out your smart phone, scan a QR code on the diamond you want to by and see a visual of the entire supply chain right on your smartphone.