Provenance of diamonds has been an issue, especially in light of failure to curb conflict diamonds percolating with legitimate mined diamonds. Laser inscription on diamonds solves this issue to some extent, but its adoption has been limited and mostly restricted only to Lab-grown diamonds. Consumers thus have not been able to trace the origin of diamonds and buy them with confidence.
One of the world’s largest diamond miner Russia-based ALROSA tied up with UK-based Everledger and is going to leverage the latter’s blockchain technology and offer diamond traceability on popular Chinese messaging platform WeChat. Currently in pilot stage, the WeChat Mini Program aims to track diamonds from mine to consumers. The Ecommerce solution on the social media platform WeChat enables purchase of diamonds in a transparent manner showcasing diamond’s origin, characteristics and ownership history.
Chinese jewelry manufacturers and retailers will be able to get a white label API of this solution to instil confidence among their customers by providing complete information about diamonds. Consumers will be able to access a diamond’s Laboratory grading certificate information. Besides, they will also be able to buy jewelry in the Mini program using WeChat Pay and attest ownership using blockchain technology of Everledger.
Pavel Vinikhin – Head of Diamonds, ALROSA said “We are delighted to support this WeChat Mini Program with Everledger, as it reinforces our pursuit for sustainable mining and transparent supply chain information. Chinese consumers will be certain of the origin of their diamonds. We believe demonstrating full provenance of our diamonds on the most popular social media platform will help us to further strengthen our sales base in China.”
While this solution is available only in China and limited to ALROSA’s diamonds at the moment, according to De Beers’ Diamond Insight Report 2019, Chinese diamond demand grew 5 percent to reach around $ 10 Billion.
Owned by Tencent, WeChat has around 1 billion users as of 2019. Tencent is also the new investor in Everledger. Adding a touchpoint of a popular social media platform that users are accustomed with and addressing an old industry issue of provenance using next-gen tech like blockchain, ALROSA may be about to hit multiple birds with one stone.
While the success of this solution remains to be seen considering previous failed attempts by others, but if the intentions of ALROSA is to give more power to consumers and not some marketing hogwash, then it is definitely a step in the right direction.