The Perth Mint, the government-owned bullion trader, which owns Australia’s only gold refinery, and produces 10% of the world’s gold, has enlisted ASX-listed blockchain technology company Security Matters Ltd (ASX: SMX) to ensure the ethical origins of the gold it sources and sells.
The Mint has signed an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with Security Matters to develop “the world’s first mine-to-marketplace ethical gold supply chain assurance solution” as the gold market in general moves to assure the world its practices are ethical and sustainable.
Perth Mint CEO Richard Hayes said it was “a particularly significant development” amid an increasing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) practices globally around the gold supply chain.
“This game-changing technology will report on the origin of the gold and how the metal moves through the entire production and distribution process,” he said.
“This complete transparency will instil even greater trust in a commodity which already provides the ultimate refuge during times of economic and geopolitical turmoil.”
Security Matters has developed patented technology that uses a hidden chemical-based ‘barcode’ to permanently and irrevocably ‘mark’ any object, whether solid, liquid or gas. The barcode is read using the company’s unique ‘reader’ to access the corresponding stored data, recorded and protected using blockchain technology.
SMX is collaborating with the Perth Mint on a two-year investigation and consultation process on the best design for the technology and logistical roll out, with a launch, under the “trueGold” hallmark, expected in Q1 2021. Stakeholders in the project range from miners, to insurers, vaults and storage companies, and end product customers including financial institutions, jewellery industry leaders and technology companies.
Security Matters CEO and founder said the initiative was the first step in his company demonstrating how its technology can be used to create transparent marketplaces for commercial and consumer goods.
“The trueGold project perfectly demonstrates how easily big changes can be made to supply chains and distribution processes when adopted by leading organisations, and how technology can be used to drive change,” he said.
“By differentiating between and employing a different technique to the three product lifecycles: raw material to production; production to commercial and; commercial to recycle you can create an entire technology driven ecosystem that promotes and drives integrity, anti-counterfeiting, corporate transparency, accountability and sustainability.”
The global gold supply chain, which employs an estimated 15 million people globally, has a long and bloody history of environmental and humanitarian issues.
SMX shares have had a good day in the wake of the news, jumping more than 20% to 0.40 cents in early trade before settling down to be nearly 8% up for the day to sit at 0.36 cents mid-afternoon.