Adapted from white paper by SAP

According to Harvard Business Review (HBR 2017), billions of dollars are being invested in blockchain technology, and some of the smartest people on the planet are engaged in understanding how this technology can reinvent organizations and industries. A report from PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC 2017) has named blockchain as a ‘tech breakthrough megatrend’ for CIOs, whilst Gartner (2016) has named it as one of the top 10 strategic technologies for 2017.

The potential impact of blockchain is driving businesses to rethink existing business models, re-examine opportunities previously thought non-viable, and explore a new frontier of opportunity that can impact the bottom line and benefit society.

Here is a survey showing current uses and potential uses of blockchain:

Tracking conflict minerals

The mining industry plays a key role in the global economy, with metals and minerals being a key ingredient for the manufacturing, industrial and consumer goods sectors. Mining businesses are currently exposed to a wide array of geo-political, social, financial and brand risk; within their value chain and beyond. There is currently much uncertainty in understanding the fundamental concepts of blockchain and more particularly its application in the Mining industry. It would therefore be useful to shed light on key areas where blockchain can be used to help address the typical challenges across the mining value chain, to help unlock value for mining companies.

Recent disclosures by Tesla and Hewlett-Packard to the United States’ Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2015 indicate that they found difficulties in tracking conflict materials which could be linked to obtaining minerals from select African nations. This is driving a new wave of rules and legislation making it mandatory for manufacturer’s to not only disclose the source, but importantly reinforce the concept of ethical sourcing.

This makes the concept of ‘chain of custody’ fundamental to transparency across the value chain. Simply put, it is the knowledge of every set of hands the minerals have passed through, between the moment it is extracted, to when it lands in the hands of the final owner. Complete knowledge of the chain of custody is the only way that Tesla or Hewlett-Packard can ensure they are compliant with SEC guidelines.

Labelling diamonds

The diamond business has been one of the first to embrace blockchain technology wholeheartedly.

If you think about the journey of a diamond, from when it’s mined, sorted and sold, to when it is mounted and displayed at a trusted retailer, say Tiffany’s or Harrods, there is so much opportunity to exchange a valid diamond for something of different provenance, like a blood or conflict diamond. Using the blockchain, each step of the production process can be verified, guaranteeing the legitimacy of a diamond.

A London-based company called Everledger has placed more than 1.6 million diamonds on a blockchain. Entries on the digital record include dozens of attributes for each diamond, including the color, carat, and certificate number,...

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