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Chain of disruption: Blockchain wins the war for clean diamonds

While the new kid on the financial technology block, bitcoin, is having a tough time gaining acceptance on the financial playground, its underlying technology, blockchain, is not. Blockchain has been the star attraction at the recent Money 20/20 event in Las Vegas and continues to demand the attention of those who influence both international business and governments.

In an interview for The Fintech Disruptors’ Report, Everledger CEO Leanne Kemp talks about the blockchain potential and how Everledger is using the technology to thwart diamond thieves.

“The blockchain represents an opportunity to re-think legacy systems that for the most part have been taken for granted as the way things must be done, rather than what could be done,” explains Leanne. “Arguably, the future potential is limitless, particularly in the areas we are focusing on at Everledger: using a global, distributed ledger that cannot be tampered with as a compliment to traditional methods of recording information, all of which have been shown to be vulnerable.”

Digital contracts, says Leanne, is one example where transactions passing through multiple intermediaries and countries today are adding unnecessary time and cost to the process. Through the blockchain, it is designed to be self-executing and self- enforcing because the interaction is solely between the parties involved.

Another example involves diamonds. Although many diamond-fuelled wars have ended in Africa, conflict diamonds remain a serious problem. Everledger supports a system of warranties that enable mining companies to verify that their rough stones are not conflict diamonds and comply with the ‘Kimberley Process’. The provenance (ownership history) of these diamonds from legitimate sources can be easily accessed by governments, jewellery retailers and consumers, providing full transparency, instant verification of the value and authenticity of the diamonds.

In the six months since its inception, Everledger has already stored the records of over 850,000 diamonds and has impressed its peers by winning the Meffys Award for Fintech Innovation organised by the Mobile Ecosystem Forum – the first blockchain company to be chosen.

For Leanne this is just the start for the technology. “As with others breakthroughs that affect regulations, business systems and human behaviour, adoption will take time,” she says.

“We’re seeing global leaders in technology, like IBM and MIT, turn their focus to developing platform initiatives – even as an open source environment. In finance, 25 banks are now part of the R3 blockchain consortium working to determine a framework for using blockchain technology in markets.”

She concludes: “This is progress, but there are challenges such as the legacy of ‘bitcoin anxiety’ and the need to increase the number of non-tech people who understand and embrace its potential for their business.”

[author title=”Bird Lovegod” image=”http://thefintechtimes.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/JS-9721-300×375.jpg”]Founder and Editor of The Fintech Times.[/author]

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