WEF’s Mining Blockchain Initiative Aims for ‘Industry-Wide Trust’

Last week, the World Economic Forum teamed up with seven major mining and metals firms to develop responsible sourcing and sustainability practices using blockchain.

Specifically, the “Mining and Metals Blockchain Initiative” will include building an inclusive blockchain platform, which will ostensibly help to increase “transparency, efficiency or improve reporting of carbon emissions” across the industry. So, is blockchain a truly good fit for mined resources?

Blockchain in the mining industry: from theory to practice

The WEF’s blockchain initiative announcement seems well-calculated, given that the organization has focused on the technology in its reports over the past few years. First, in April 2018, the WEF published the “Blockchain Beyond the Hype” paper, stressing that blockchain deployment should not be a goal in and of itself.

A few months after, the organization highlighted blockchain’s significance to the mining and metals industry in particular, citing less paperwork, faster transactions, compliance and sustainability among primary reasons. 

In July this year, the WEF issued The Blockchain Value Framework guide, which was a more concrete framework for “those business leaders that have figured out blockchain is the right solution for a specific problem, but don’t know what to do next,” as explained at the time by Sheila Warren, Head of Blockchain at the World Economic Forum. Namely, the document listed six recommendations for companies, prompting them to take time to understand the technology, set realistic expectations, and align to strategic priorities.

So what exactly makes blockchain the right fit for mining? The industry largely revolves around extracting objects and transporting them from point A to point B, so providing accurate supply chain data could be an option. Nathan Williams, CEO at Minespider, a blockchain protocol for responsible mineral sourcing, told Cointelegraph:

“Supply chain data is very sensitive, and before…

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