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Sierra Leone: Blockchain technology aims to disrupt the diamond mining business as it introduces transparency, traceability, and tokenization

Author: Coincodex, Published on: 20 August 2019

‘iCoin and Blockchain to Disrupt Diamond Mining in Sierra Leone’ 16 August 2019

As the popular maxim goes, “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend”, and this is how many might describe the path to a woman’s heart. Without a doubt, for thousands of years, or perhaps since the discovery of diamonds, these rare gems have remained a social symbol of affection between couples owing to their aesthetic beauty. They are also well recognized as the occasional medium of exchange, as is their use in manufacturing and even medicine -- thanks to it being one of the hardest known substances. However, they also have a longstanding and serious controversial socio-economic and environmental impact, thereby tainting the abstract quality of these precious gems.

With growing awareness about the illegitimacy surrounding many diamond mining operations, consumers today are concerned about the source of their diamonds. Two broad classes of controversial diamond mining have been identified, one of which is commonly termed conflict or blood diamonds, which involves the class of diamonds mined in war zones and sold illegally to fund conflicts. The other involves mining operations which lead to adverse environmental impacts such as erosion and severe land pollution – creating an extensive land disturbance that has ecologists worried about the long-term rippling effect on the ecosystem. A point of interest here would be Sierra Leone’s diamond mining operation, which accounts for 1% of conflict diamonds in global circulation, second to Angola with 2.1%. More so, 15% of diamonds produced in Sierra Leone are conflict diamonds according to data by the World Bank. This presents a serious socio-economic problem as even government policies which were expected to curb these practices were in most cases known to intensify illegal mining and distribution of diamonds.

With blockchain technology, Sierra Leone-based Millennium Mining Corporation aims to disrupt the diamond mining business as it introduces, transparency, traceability, and tokenization. As for transparency and traceability, the company will leverage the decentralized nature of the blockchain as a public ledger to build a trustless network with immutable data properties. What this means is that mining operation data stored the blockchain is decentralized, timestamped, and accessible by the public and can be trusted by diamond business stakeholders across the globe. Moreover, incorporating a smart contract system will ensure that transactions within the system are transparent and efficient due to automation.

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