Today, blockchain provenance firm Everledger announced it raised $20 million in a Series A funding led by China’s Tencent Holdings. Additional investors included Graphene Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Rakuten, Fidelity, and Vickers Venture Partners.
Everledger’s main product is a blockchain platform for the provenance and traceability of diamonds. This week, the firm launched an upgraded version, scaling it to other supply chain sectors such as gemstones, fine wine, luxury goods, and e-waste management.
Founded in 2015, Everledger’s Hyperledger Fabric-based platform logs the origin, ownership, features, and trading of assets. Apart from blockchain, the platform also employs artificial intelligence, Internet of Things (IoT), and intelligent labeling technology.
As of today, the firm can boast support from companies like tech giant Tencent, owner of WeChat and the first Asian firm to surpass a market value of $500 billion.
“Having this strong investor cohort join us at this stage in our development is both validation of the innovation we’ve displayed to date, and a statement of future intent. They will support us in bringing more visibility to good business practices in industries that impact millions, if not billions of people in developing countries,” said Leanne Kemp, founder and CEO of Everledger.
James Mitchell, Chief Strategy Officer at Tencent, said: “Everledger’s application of blockchain technology enhances value to consumers and reduces risks for businesses across the industry.”
The firms will collaborate to introduce blockchain-based diamonds to users of WeChat. “Everledger and Tencent are a natural fit. We share strategic synergies, including several solutions that are part of their ecosystem,” explained Kemp.
She continued: “As an example, we will launch the world’s first WeChat Mini Program for blockchain-enabled diamonds, uniting key stakeholders in the diamond value chain, which aims to empower WeChat users to buy jewelry with more transparency and security.”
Everledger already has partnerships with Spanish jewelry designer and manufacturer Facet, Fred Meyer Jewelers in the U.S., and Indian diamond manufacturer Sheetal Group. The firm also has a community program, named Moyo Gemstones, which aims to empower female miners in Tanzania to work safely and have more financial security.
Tencent is no stranger to blockchain projects. The company worked with the tax bureau of Shenzhen to roll out blockchain-based invoicing for transport systems including subways, taxis, and airport shuttles. The firm’s blockchain as a service (BaaS) offering has its own competitive protocol and was behind a blockchain transaction by Standard Chartered in July. Tencent is additionally rumored to be one of the seven issuers of China’s central bank digital currency.