Blockchain Apps and the Mineral Supply Chain Could Help Verify Origins of Resources

    Mining companies are constantly working to determine the source of their minerals and to ensure a quality extraction process. Under the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act, mining companies based in the United States must source minerals in a responsible manner. Further, the minerals could not be used to enrich those involved in armed conflicts.

    The European Union has adopted similar laws several years ago. Under their measures, companies based in the European Union must report the source of minerals such as gold, tungsten, tin, and titanium. These requirements work to mitigate the use of minerals to finance warfare.

    The effects of these laws are still being determined – as in whether they are actually working to mitigate conflict and funding from the sale of such minerals. In terms of compliance though, companies are turning to one resource that may provide a great deal of help: blockchain. The technology may be able to ensure that companies are truly sustainably sourcing the minerals.

    MineSpider is just one company that is leading the way. The company, founded in 2017, is applying blockchain technology to help companies determine exactly where their minerals were sourced.

    According to founder Nathan Williams,

    “There’s a lot of thoughts on how to keep sensitive data private. The problem with private blockchain, if brands what to have their own private blockchain, a miner would have five different systems to use.”

    Concerning privacy, the company developed a layered blockchain system with Ethereum as the underlying technology. Developers can develop apps and create programs o the blockchain.

    As Williams explains, his platform is similar to an onion – that is, it has many layers. He stated

    “We have two layers – a data layer and an Ethereum layer. Ethereum is the blockchain immutable layer, and on that, we are storing a ton of material, how much in shipments and the grade. Then there is a link to a packet of data. One layer of data is data you want everyone to see. Another layer is private data that needs to be registered as unchangeable, which is only available to customers. The third layer is key – we encrypt the first two layers, and then asymmetrically encrypt that with the key of your customer.”

    Regulators can receive encrypted access to the data and thus, they’ll be able to review the data. As for the company, this type of method protects the security of and the data on the blockchain.

    The company is currently planning on launching its first pilot and it is also negotiating with a number of sizable companies. MineSpider is not the only such company out there either. This is competition from Circulor, based in the United Kingdom. Another one is Peer Ledger in Nova Scotia.

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