NEW YORK — Gold and diamond companies including Berkshire Hathaway’s Richline Group joined with IBM to develop blockchain technology to track the origin of jewelry and ensure it is ethically sourced, the companies said earlier this week.
The joint initiative, dubbed TrustChain, aims to make it easier for consumers to track diamonds and precious metals through the various steps of the supply chain as they become finished pieces jewelry, the companies said.
The technology initially will help track six styles of diamond and gold engagement rings and is expected to be available to consumers by the end of 2018, the companies said.
Other businesses involved in the initiative include precious metals refiner Asahi Refining, jewelry retailer Helzberg Diamonds, precious metals supplier LeachGarner and third-party verification provider UL.
Blockchain, which first emerged as the system powering cryptocurrency bitcoin, is a shared database that is maintained by a network of computers connected to the internet.
Because it makes it easier for multiple parties to jointly create and update tamper-proof records, the companies involved in the project believe it is well suited to securely and efficiently track and prove the origin and ethical sourcing of jewelry.
IBM is also working with large food retail companies on a blockchain platform to help track food supply chains and improve safety.