A blockchain is only as strong as its weakest link: transparency and artisanal gold.
- Other Publication
Rights / licenseIn Copyright - Non-Commercial Use Permitted
To ensure responsible gold sourcing, accredited refiners often obtain gold directly from a few industrial mines, building up trust relationships and visiting these mines frequently. This approach is not feasible for artisanal mines, given their large numbers and the high-risk conditions in which they operate. Can blockchain be a substitute for trust relationships to support responsible sourcing from artisanal miners? The main obstacle for using blockchain is to create a link between the physical world (the traded gold) and the digital (the blockchain). Linking the physical and digital worlds can be done either by uniquely identifying the physical object by its chemical composition or by adding a unique mark or tag to the product. For the case of artisanal gold, both these methods are limited. Geochemical analysis requires large and expensive reference databases and can only be done before smelting and refinement. Tags need to be added by a central authority, which could weaken the power and trust of the blockchain in fragile areas. While blockchain could contribute to a more transparent gold supply chain, it has a limited ability to ensure responsible sourcing from artisanal miners. Show more
PublisherETH Zurich, NADEL
SubjectBlockchain; mining; Gold; Mining; Transparency
Organisational unit03808 - Günther, Isabel / Günther, Isabel
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