My biggest wish for Africa is that we start aggressively solving our own problems using emerging technologies. I strongly believe that the next generation of problem solvers and innovative thinkers are equipped to implement appropriate solutions on this continent. Ideally, these solutions would close the cycle of poverty and corruption.
When it comes to the diamond industry, there is no better time than now to use emerging technology to address the long-running issue of conflict mining. Using blockchains we can eliminate the unethical and forced extraction of diamonds and other precious metals, which are often controlled by rebel forces. According to various research studies, this rebel force can make anywhere from হ 3 million to 6 6 million a year from blood diamonds. The frustrating thing is that forced labor is imposed on young and innocent citizens in countries like DRC, Sierra Leone, Angola, Central African Republic.
These rebel forces could make anywhere from blood diamonds to 3 3 million to 6 6 million a year.
Finding the source of diamonds has never been an easy or straightforward process, and for hundreds of years unscrupulous people have been able to use loofahs to their advantage.
The good news is that advances in technology over the past few decades have introduced better ways of processing information. I believe blockchain technology is an active way of applying transparency and trust in the diamond industry. I will explain how below. (If you are not familiar with technology, this article provides some more background)
One of the leading systems that comes to mind is the trust chain. Unlike many other blockchains, it resists a “51 percent majority attack” because it introduces a third party to each block’s signature. Thereby ensuring ‘proof of evidence’.
A blockchain hacking
If you are wondering what this means, it is related to this popular question; “Are blockchains really un-hackable?”
The fact is, hacking a blockchain is incredibly difficult. Hacking any one block means hacking each previous and next block before the next block is created. It became faster to do this as the discipline of the block increased.
However, this does not mean that a hack is impossible. An individual or group can control hackers if they can hack most of the hash rate on the network to reconsider the transaction history, but this can prevent new transactions from being confirmed in the blockchain. While this type of attack is extremely unlikely and extremely difficult to implement, it is safe to assure that systems such as Trustchain are designed to eliminate this possibility altogether.
Kimberley process improved
The Kimberley Process was implemented by the United Nations in 2000 to combat the conflicting diamond exchange. The problem is that it is still a paper-based solution that relies on certifications and a community of traders. Although the initiative was intended to be good, it does not reduce the likelihood of malicious activity within the trading community. What sets the blockchain apart is that it leaves no room for corruption or bribery by people at any level. Trust is built into the system and transactions are open and transparent. No government or system administrator can change certificates or information randomly. The nature of blockchain architecture is to create a distributive ledger where transactions are recorded over time and secured using advanced cryptography … making it virtually impossible to edit existing data.
Since diamonds have a very unique element to how they were made, each transaction will be equally unique. The transactions will record the unique fingerprint of each stone, including the color, carat and precision of each stone, serial number and how much each stone was sold at each touch-point. We will be able to identify every step of the diamond sale in the blockchain.
Cut off the middle class
Diamond suppliers often rely on several intermediaries to move diamonds around the world. For example, the introduction of this technology to accountants, government officials, lawyers, banks, businessmen, etc. in the industry will mean that intermediaries will play an integral role in the process, leaving no room for error or corruption.
The future is shining brightly like a diamond.
In short, it is clear that diamond blockchains are a major turning point in this industry. Companies like IBM, De Beers, Trustchain and Everldzer jumped on the blockchain bandwagon. If jewelers, individuals and other large corporations follow suit, it could force the conflict mining route to be sidelined. This would drastically reduce their profits by selling blood diamonds, which could later lead to the end of the blood diamond era.
Disclaimer: I am in no way authorized to associate with the companies and entities mentioned in this article. Just keen to solve African relevant issues using blockchain. Below are a few links to the companies mentioned.
De Beers Blockchain Statement: https://www.debeersgroup.com/en/news/company-news/company-news/de-beers-group-progresses-de development ment-of-first-blockchain-initia.html
IBM on Blockchain: https://www.ibm.com/blogs/think/2018/05/everledger/