If you haven’t been hibernating in a cave for the last 12 months, you will be familiar with the infrastructure called blockchain. This is not a new concept, and I’m sure we are all familiar with the Bitcoin story that utilises the blockchain and the reputation that surrounds Bitcoin from illegal purchases. As a quick refresher for the uninitiated in this technology, I will try to explain very briefly what this technology is before I move onto what I really want to discuss, diamonds!
Blockchain is a distributed public ledger to record transactions of things of value. In its rawest form blockchain is an automated way to record all transactions in a way you can trust and costs very little. Couple this with distributed nodes that can be housed globally, it makes this method of record keeping/transaction logging practically impossible to be corrupted.
So what has this go to do with diamonds? Well, quite a lot considering £50 billion is lost annually throughout the US and Europe on insurance fraud with 65% of fraudulent claims going undetected. Couple this with £100 million being spent each year on jewellery theft, there seems a need for ensuring the authenticity of objects such as diamonds to reduce the risk of fraud. This is precisely where Everledger enters the marketplace. Built upon the fabric of Blockchain, with the assurance of IBM technology (LinuxONE), and with some amazing elements that ensure the authenticity, certification, security and quite literally tracking of these gems!
The Everledger Blockchain Story
So how does Everledger do this? Well, let’s go into a bit more detail as what I discovered when interviewing Leanne Kemp, CEO and Founder of Everledger.
Everledger quite literally is a digital vault that allows you to trace, recall history and validate goods in the luxury space. With diamonds, 40 metadata points are collected and matched to the laser inscription on the stone along with information on the stone’s origin and history. This is then digitised and stored on the blockchain creating a digital footprint that can be validated, traced and checked with smart contracts. This is a game changer for the financial services and insurance industry. Everledger may have created the killer solution that the blockchain has been waiting for. Imagine, you see that lovely engagement ring on eBay that would look fantastic on your partner’s finger. How do you know that it’s genuine? A piece of paper right? Well with Everledger I could tell you the complete history of that diamond as it will have its unique digital DNA signature that can be recalled and validated from the blockchain. From its mining origin, authenticity, history and more— Everledger ensure the provenance of the diamond. When discussing more details with Leanne, she spoke highly of IBM’s commitment to blockchain and her business.
Running a Secure Blockchain on IBM LinuxONE
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Leanne states “When we looked at tackling global problems while ensuring transactional security, blockchain is the fabric that brings together the security and scalability that is essential to building a solution, and IBM plays an important part in achieving this with their LinuxONE infrastructure. When you see a firm that’s over 100 years old and has the scale alongside the agility to change direction when needed, that’s a company you need as a trusted technology partner.”
This is a bold statement from Leanne but it’s backed up with hard facts that demonstrate IBM is out in front in the blockchain space. Let’s face it, they have a “Blockchain in the Cloud” (the Blockchain High-Security Network) available to test and develop upon, they have the resources and experience that is truly global together with some of the most amazing academic initiatives available for the support of agile start-ups we see today. This coupled with a development platform (Bluemix) that is free to try that killer API out on without burning large wholes in your pockets for DevOps.
Beyond diamonds—the future of Blockchain
Diamonds are only the beginning for Leanne and Everledger. Leanne states further “This technology is suited to any high-value goods that are produced today and we are already working on significant developments for other goods/markets”.
My final comments on this are simple. Everledger could just be that killer application that the blockchain needs to break free from the bitcoin stigma. The applications for this technology can quite literally change the way we look at contracts (replaced with smart contracts) and how we trace and track items to identify their authenticity without added risk. I’m looking forward to catching up with Leanne again at the IP Expo in London after the IBM Edge conference as she has created something very special, built on amazing technology that scales infinitely from volume to products. In the very near future cash will be replaced with digital currency, it’s inevitable, but for good reason. It lowers risk, it increases accountability, and it scales while applying the appropriate security.
Learn more about Everledger and Blockchain at IBM Edge
If you are going to the IBM Edge conference in Las Vegas from the 19th of September, please do make a point of listening to Leanne present. She could quite possibly have the unicorn that blockchain has been waiting for outside the financial industry.
If you’re not going to IBM Edge, you can listen to Leanne present online by watching the conference Livestream at IBMgo.com on Sept 20th from 8:30 am PST to 10:00 am PST, or 11:30 am EST to 1 pm EST, (UK Time, 4:30 pm to 6:00 pm). Register to Listen at IBM Go.