The art of tracking diamonds through the blockchain | #IBMEdge

Leanne Kemp - IBM Edge 2016

The crypto currency Bitcoin is in the news these days, but the real innovation is Bitcoin’s other half, the blockchain. A blockchain is a sort of distributed recording device, a ledger that is held on many computers so that it cannot easily be forged or altered. This blockchain ledger is a powerful way to bring transparency and trust to any number of industries.

To shed some light on how the blockchain is being used in the wild, Dave Vellante (@dvellante) and Stu Miniman (@stu), cohosts of theCUBE, from the SiliconANGLE Media team, went to the IBM Edge 2016 conference in Las Vegas. There, they met with Leanne Kemp, founder and CEO of London-based startup Everledger, which provides an immutable ledger for diamond identification and transaction verification.

Blockchains and diamonds

The conversation opened with a look at Everledger itself. Kemp explained that the company is bringing transparency to the once-opaque diamond market. She stated that most people see Everledger as a blockchain business, but that she thinks of it as an emerging technology company.

Kemp mentioned that when she saw the emergence of Bitcoin, she understood where its applications could lie. It was easy to decouple the currency from the ledger so the ledger could be used to prevent fraud. While she understood the problem early on, at the time she hadn’t considered the scale of the issue or how it could extend into other areas.

Working with IBM

Confronted by the scope of the problem, Everledger needed a partner. Kemp described how in the first year, it managed to onboard a million diamonds. But what about scaling up to handle hundreds of millions across the world? It wanted to look toward a tech innovator it could trust. IBM fit the bill.

“As a CEO, I sleep at night knowing we have IBM,” Kemp said.

Taking a moment, Kemp then elaborated on how the process works. There are two types of diamonds, rough and polished. As these stones cross borders in trade, they’re inspected. A challenge Everledger faced was bringing Internet of Things support to the diamond pipeline. Now, though, it can pull all those data points and layer them into the blockchain.

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE and theCUBE’s coverage of IBM Edge 2016.

Photo by SiliconANGLE