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How Expertise Can Cease Blood Diamonds 

Diamonds are related to many joyous and completely happy events: engagements, birthdays, anniversaries and even profitable the Superbowl. For many individuals, diamonds signify wealth and private milestones. Nonetheless, for the many individuals concerned within the diamond provide chain, the fact is a a lot darker image. “Blood diamonds” have acquired their graphic identify because of the violent, unethical and horrific circumstances in African diamond mines.

What Are Blood Diamonds?

The United Nations defines blood diamonds, or battle diamonds, as gems “mined in areas managed by forces against the professional, internationally acknowledged authorities of a rustic and that’s offered to fund navy motion in opposition to that authorities.” These diamonds can come from three areas in Africa: Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo or Sierra Leone.

Blood diamonds are sometimes be mined by slaves, together with youngsters, and gross sales of those diamonds can fund wars and state violence, perpetuating poverty in these resource-rich African nations. Estimates state that 1 in 13 diamonds on the worldwide market are battle diamonds – a complete of 65 million diamonds. Battle diamonds are similar to different diamonds; as soon as minimize and polished, it’s not possible to decipher a diamond’s origin.

How Blockchain Can Assist Cease Blood Diamonds

Though shoppers don’t need to buy these merchandise, they don’t have any manner of understanding whether or not their diamonds had been ethically sourced. Due to new blockchain know-how, a diamond’s historical past now could be simply accessible and not possible to govern. This technological breakthrough has the facility that many have been trying to find to cease blood diamonds.

Blockchain is the know-how behind cryptocurrencies. Merely put, blockchain is “decentralized, public ledger know-how.” Because the identify suggests, it consists of a series of blocks, with the blocks being info and the chain being a public database. The blocks are all distinctive and are virtually not possible to change or edit. As modifications are made or transactions happen, new blocks are added to the chain. Blockchain permits digital info to be recorded and distributed whereas stopping it from being edited. The data is saved with codes and resides within the digital “cloud.” Bitcoin was the primary non-hypothetical software of this revolutionary know-how. A number of industries have already taken benefit of blockchain, together with securely storing personal medical info, storing and verifying property possession, holding voting data and now illuminating the diamond provide chain.

A New Demand for Moral Merchandise

Latest reviews present that customers, particularly millennials, would relatively spend extra money on genuinely moral items or discover alternate options to buying problematic merchandise like blood diamonds. Virtually 75 % of worldwide millennials and 66 % of all shoppers are keen to pay extra for sustainable, conflict-free items.

An early software within the battle in opposition to blood diamonds was the “Kimberley Course of,” which the diamond trade adopted in 2003 to create documentation akin to passports for the gems. Sadly, the method’s definition of “battle diamond” doesn’t embody diamond mines utilizing little one labor, employee abuse and even “state-sanctioned violence.” For that reason, diamonds deemed acceptable by means of the Kimberley Course of should still be thought-about unethical to many shoppers. Even diamonds that match the slim definition slip into the method by means of numerous loopholes within the provide chain.

The Tracr Initiative

Lab-grown diamonds are rising in reputation, however are projected to account for lower than 10 % of market share within the subsequent few years. Actual diamonds are nonetheless in highest demand, and the De Beers Group has discovered a manner to supply actual gems with out the blood. In January, De Beers introduced the Tracr initiative to cease blood diamonds. Melinda Mutambaie Katende, a blockchain researcher on the College of Johannesburg, defined Tracr: “Not like different commodities…particular person diamond cuts have distinctive parts, these will be become knowledge attributes that reinforce the immutability of each transaction on the blockchain.”

From the second a diamond is mined till it’s positioned in a setting, details about the diamond shall be added to the digital ledger and will be accessed by anybody. Customers can take a look at the blocks to see the place their diamond was mined and the way it made its manner by means of the availability chain. Tracr shall be accessible to the whole diamond trade by the tip of 2018. This initiative marks a serious step towards a rise in transparency all through the diamond trade and can empower shoppers to help moral diamond mining.

The worldwide diamond jewellery market was value an estimated $80.1 billion in 2016. Diamonds are a appreciable enterprise and draw excessive demand regardless of their excessive costs and doubtlessly violent origins. With extra shoppers selecting diamonds whose origins are recognized, fewer will select blood diamonds, which might ultimately scale back demand to a degree the place the blood diamond mines are shut down.  With correct implementation, Tracr and blockchain can take away energy from violent mining teams whereas placing an finish to blood diamonds and their victims.

– Sarah Stanley

Photograph: Flickr

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