One of the many arguments against blockchain technology is its lack of real-world use cases. However, while blockchain is still in its infant stages, the technology is already making strides in the financial sector and beyond.
Now, UK-based technology company Everledger is finding success in the supply chain of diamonds and other luxury goods, driving transparency, and ethical trade.
What is Everledger all about?
Launched in 2015, Everledger is essentially an old-timer in this nascent industry. The high-tech firm makes use of a combination of blockchain, AI, and intelligent labelling technologies to introduce transparency to the supply chain of luxury goods. The diamond trade, for example, has historically been hampered by unethical practices from value manipulation to illegal labour.
By using the Everledger blockchain platform to track the life cycle of diamonds, all stakeholders can verify the authenticity and legality of the goods. The platform generates permanent, secure digital records of the asset’s origin, ownership over its lifetime, and its unique characteristics.
This satisfies a growing consumer concern over the illegal diamond trade and the conditions workers are often subject to – as well as reassures them that they are buying a genuine product.
Consumers can easily access the data through a mobile app or on their desktop. This means that they can be certain of what they are buying. It also benefits retailers who are subject to strict requirements to produce evidence of the traceability and provenance of their goods.
The company also caters to fine wine providers and other high-ticket items, but is seeing particular success in the diamond trade.
Everledger incorporates all types of information into one digital record secured forever on the blockchain. This includes data from diamond miners, certification houses, manufacturers, and retailers, helping to have a positive impact both socially and environmentally and driving ethical, transparent trade.
— Michele Townsend (@mntownsend) October 16, 2018
Real use cases in the real world
The Everledger blockchain project isn’t just an idea on a white paper or a work in progress. The company has ongoing partnerships with many key players in the diamond and jewellery industries. These include Gübelin Gem Lab, the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and one of China’s leading retailers Chow Tai Fook.
Moreover, US-based retailer Fred Meyer Jewelers uses the Everledger platform to show customers the journey of each of the diamonds in its Rock Solid collection. The company plans to extend this across 100 stores from next month.
We've launched version 2.0 of our #blockchain platform, providing increasing levels of transparency across supply chains.
Happy to have @FMJewelers , @SheetalDiamonds, Facet Jewellers, and @PactWorld partnering with us!https://t.co/Dx0PBRQsjp pic.twitter.com/BY2siKzUX9
— Everledger (@everledgerio) September 20, 2019
Vice president of the company Kirsten Darrow said in a press release:
“We are excited to be able to offer Rock Solid Diamonds to our customers as part of our ongoing commitment to responsibly sourced and transparent jewellery supply chains. Being able to provide a fully transparent and intimate connection between our customers and their diamonds brings real meaning and value to their precious investment.”
Everledger also recently embarked on a new partnership with Spanish jewellery designer and manufacturer Facet. The company will use the Everledger platform to track its new collection DiamondByway. This marks the first collection of traceable jewellery in Europe. Founder and CEO José Miguel Serret stated:
“We are very proud to be a pioneer in Europe in diamond traceability. For more than 30 years we have been fostering increasing levels of good business practices in our supply chain. Now we can provide the evidence that our customers in retail and end consumers have long been waiting for.”
It’s not only retailers and consumers that benefit from the Everledger platform. It positively impacts manufacturers as well. Bharat Kakadia, executive director of Sheetal Group, a leading diamond manufacturer based in India, stated:
“Everledger has presented a thorough understanding of the myriad of exigencies that luxury brands are requiring for greater transparency.”
Expanding into the coloured gemstones space
There are plenty of industries that could benefit from greater transparency in the supply chain. The coloured gemstones industry is a prime example, with currently some 80-90% of stones mined by individuals using very labour-intensive methods and rudimentary tools. These miners are known as ASMs (Artisanal and Small-Scale Miners) and they often face dangerous working conditions as well as poor access to information.
Everledger has teamed up with several partners including Pact and the Tanzanian Women Miners Association (TAWOMA) to provide assistance to Tanzanian female miners and their communities. So far, the company has helped to bring more gemstones to market through ethical practices in collaboration with Gübelin Gem Lab on the Provenance Proof initiative.
Everledger is a pioneer in the blockchain space
Not only is Everledger forging ahead with real-life use cases for blockchain technology, but the company was also founded and run by a woman in blockchain – Leanne Kemp. She was named as one of Forbes’ top 50 women in tech in 2018.
Not only does she run the company on a daily basis, but she also co-chairs the World Trade Board’s Sustainable Trade Action Group and is on the IBM Blockchain Platform Board of Advisors.
Everledger has experienced 300% growth over the last year and now has more than 90 collaborators, five offices, and customers across five continents. Kemp stated:
“Everledger’s purpose is to contribute greater clarity and confidence in the marketplaces where increased transparency is essential. We help stakeholders along the value chain to make better decisions, which enables ever more knowledge, insight, and sustainable business practices.”