The world's largest diamond company, the Russian Alrosa, has joined the pilot of the "Beich" diamond chain platform, De Beers' diamond production platform, "Tracr".
Alrosa is considered the world's largest producer of rough diamonds in terms of carats; together with De Beers, the two companies produce around half of the world's offer. In the third quarter of 2018, the company's rough diamond sales increased 12% year-on-year to $ 949 million in value terms, even though carat sales decreased.
Tracr, whose pilot project was first announced in January, aims to improve transparency and consumer confidence through the value chain of diamonds, from mine to retail.
The solution works by creating a digital certificate for each diamond that records key attributes and transactions. Data is stored immutably on the blockchain, allowing buyers to verify that the diamonds purchased are natural and conflict-free.
This last term refers to a specific industry concern regarding "conflict diamonds", also known as "blood diamonds": uncut diamonds that have been mined in a war zone and traded to fight illegally .
Alrosa CEO Sergey Ivanov told Mining Weekly that the company's move to participate in the pilot project was motivated by the belief that industrial cooperation is necessary for "a common goal".
The Trac blockchain initiative was designed to complement existing regulations and schemes that promote trust in the field of provenance and quality of diamonds, such as the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, the World Diamond Council System of Warranties and the Responsible Jewelery Council Code of Practices.
As previously reported, Tracr was developed by De Beers in collaboration with other industry leaders, namely Diacore, Diarough, KGK Group, Rosy Blue NV and Venus Jewel. The first of De Beers successfully implemented the blockchain solution to trace 100 high-value diamonds this May.
In the same month, Signet Jewelers, the world's largest diamond jewelry retailer, joined the Tracr pilot initiative. The full platform should be launched this year, even if an exact date has not yet been announced.
Also in May, Alrosa collaborated with KGK Diamonds to collaborate with the blockchain startup D1 Mint to tokenise diamonds. The project aims to broaden the appeal of gems as an investment class and drive consumer demand.