Blockchain Could Track the Globe’s Gold Bullion by 2019

The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) is to create a set of standards for blockchain-based gold tracking, as well as an oversight committee to approve and monitor technology providers.


Ethical sourcing is becoming critical in such a high-value sector as precious metals. It will become even more important as reserves of metals such as gold diminish and scarcity develops.

Proving the origins of gold could prevent smuggling from developing countries where mining practices can threaten lives and damage the environment. It ensures that everyone involved in the supply chain, including miners, are rewarded and reassures gold buyers and consumers that both people and the environment are being protected.

The tracking of gold bullion from its origin through its ownership and use cycle could prevent theft. It could also prevent illegal sales, smuggling, and use funding conflict and terrorism. Blockchain technology presents a way to remove illegal or unethical gold from the markets.

Achieving a Credible Blockchain Solution

The LBMA is a global authority on gold and the international trade association for the over-the-counter (OTC) gold bullion market. Its members include the largest gold miners, refiners and traders of gold.

The LBMA asked its members for proposals in March 2018 regarding how to track gold and prevent forgery. According to Reuters reporting, the LBMA received 26 proposals, including pitches from technology startups, and also from IBM. Out of the 26 proposals, 20 incorporated blockchain technology.

The authority will now create a set of standards for services, whilst understanding what a “credible blockchain solution” is, said LBMA’s executive board director Sakhila Mirza who added:

Once those have been appropriately established, the result would be a selection of service providers that meet the minimum standards.

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Tracking a Trillion Dollar Industry

Selecting service providers is likely to occur in 2019. The successful blockchain developer would be responsible for a system that provides tracking and transparency to a trillion dollar industry.  

London is the largest hub in the world for OTC gold trades and clearing. Wholesale gold trades across London’s five precious metal clearing banks, overseen by the LBMA, reached a value of $6.7 trillion in 2017.

The estimated implied market capitalization for gold is over $7 trillion. It is an implied capitalization as it includes gold already mined, in circulation, and potentially still in the ground. London’s gold vaults contain around 8,000 tonnes of gold bullion, second only to the gold held by the U.S government.

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Deloitte Is Creating Blockchain Trust Layers Within Commerce

Deloitte is working to create a deployment of blockchain technology for its global clients. The company’s first blockchain lab in Ireland is now over two years old.


The billion-dollar professional services company was quick to step into blockchain development services for its enterprise client base.

Many ICOs and blockchain innovators are creating ambitious projects which could take time to develop into real-world applications. Then, they will be faced with engaging consumers and businesses to adopt or utilize these new platforms. And that’s if they have the funding.

As a multi-national company with an extensive client base and now with its own teams of blockchain developers, Deloitte, like IBM and others could have a march on being able to bring blockchain into the real world, faster. These industry giants will still face issues.

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The Deloitte EMEA Blockchain Lab in Ireland opened in 2016, it now has two more, one in Hong Kong, and one in New York. The Irish lab includes technologists who focus on design and development and also strategists who work with clients on their blockchain adoption and implementation.

The lab is an EMEA center of excellence for Deloitte, which works right from the idea stage, through to testing and creating technical architecture, design, development, and then to deployment.

David Dalton, consulting partner and financial services lead at Deloitte, told Silicon Republic:

We have all of the support you would expect in a lab. We have the R&D, we have the thought leadership, we also speak a lot and build awareness around it. But the core of what we do is work with building clients’ real-world solutions on blockchain technology.

Blockchain — Creating Trust

Antonio Senatore, chief technology officer, explained that organizations are looking to use blockchain to add an extra layer to transactional infrastructures in order to provide trust. This is something developers have been trying to achieve for years, finally finding refuge in blockchain:

You can see blockchain almost as an indexing layer, a trust layer on top of a data exchange facility, and that’s what we’ve been seeing so far.

This notion fits with real-world applications of blockchain outside of Deloitte. In payments and remittances, as well as supply chains, blockchain is first being widely tested for adding a secure way to confirm and share information pertaining to transactions and trades. 

Technology is Not the Only Problem

The challenge with this type of network technology, Deloitte finds, is getting industry stakeholders to work together — to decide governance and to turn ideas into reality. Anthony Day, CEO says:

The technology is really only 20 percent of the problem; the other 80 percent is getting a multidisciplinary group together.

Day says it’s about pioneering the future:

Taking blockchain live is more than just the technology. You are actually creating real transformation; you are creating entirely new ecosystems or processes that didn’t exist before.

These new processes need buy-in along the whole value chain. A challenge that blockchain will face in both consumer and commercial application across all industries if it will become a truly foundational technology.

What challenges do you think blockchain will face before mainstream adoption can be achieved?


Images courtesy of Shutterstock.

Japanese Consortium to Research Direct Trading of Electricity with Blockchain

A Japanese consortium is to research the use of blockchain technology to determine the price of surplus electricity generated by photovoltaic power generation, and a new system capable of direct trading.Japan Unisys to Build Blockchain Platform to Facilitate Trading of ElectricityA partnership between the University of Tokyo, IT company Japan Unisys, electric utility Kansai Electric Power, and Mitsubishi UFJ Bank, the largest in Japan, will study the viability of a dedicated platform powered by blockchain that manages direct trading of electricity.The research addresses the widespread use of renewable energy such as solar power generation, which is leading to a change of the current power supply system from a conventional large-scale intensive type to a self-sustained distributed type.Researchers estimate that in the future electricity will be directly traded through a dedicated platform.As distributed ledger technology spreads in the financial sector and other industries, including energy management, the Japanese consortium will test a blockchain powered platform to test how well it determines the purchase price between electric consumers and consumers. For instance, a production consumer who uses the electricity generated by himself and sells the surplus.The study will use the surplus electricity generated with solar power equipment at consumers’ houses to determine prices, conduct simulated transactions with blockchain technology, and send power to multiple consumers, according to the announcement.“Through this empirical research, we will acquire knowledge on power direct transactions using blockchain technology, and will continue to provide more practical empirical research, such as verification at home and collaboration with financial institutions. We will contribute to the realization of a society to utilize in a sustainable manner.”The distributed system will be developed by Japan Unisys with Mitsubishi UFJ Bank (MUFG) advising on the use of blockchain on settlement and transactions.The utility company will create the demonstration system at the same experiment center, and the University of Tokyo is in charge of the research and findings.MUFG is highly involved with the technology. In May, the bank announced it will commence the commercialization of blockchain payments by early 2020. Its blockchain, developed by U.S. firm Akamai, will focus on a high throughput of up to one million transactions per second.The use of blockchain for electricity trading is not new.Matchmaking platform Bittwatt has recently launched its decentralized service of energy supply, billing, and balancing. The platform integrates regulatory information and data shared between energy suppliers, grid operators and smart consumers.Featured image from Shutterstock.