A new startup called DUST Identity is using blockchain technology and diamond dust to make it easier to track an object’s provenance.
The company offers a service called DUST Ledger which will reportedly let users enroll and track a huge number of physical objects onto a blockchain.
The process works by coating objects in a product called the Diamond Unclonable Security Tag (DUST). The DUST coating is basically a durable fingerprint keyed specifically to the object it coats, acting as a unique identifier when the object is placed under a scanner.
Each time an object with DUST coating is scanned, the transaction data is automatically saved and can then be added to a blockchain. DUST Identity claims that this process will let users easily track specific objects’ provenance and trace where they were last scanned.
Object fingerprinting with diamonds
DUST Identity was formed by three physical scientists: Ophir Gaathon, who has a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Columbia University; MIT professor Dirk Englund, who has worked in quantum photonics; and MIT Ph.D. Jonathan Hodges, who has a background in optical system design.
Gaathon, who has a deep history of working with diamond materials, said that DUST identity first came about due to a shared interest in using diamonds in commercial applications.
“It was clear that there are several very interesting applications that can be greatly impacted by the use of diamonds,” he said.
“However, we realized that, for any commercial application, there are three fundamental things that we need to tackle first: know how to make and nanoengineer diamonds at scale, how to develop the hardware technology that can ‘talk’ to our diamonds, and how to build an intuitive software interface platform that will enable any user to extract value from our diamonds.”
The three scientists identified blockchain technology as a viable solution for that third part of their problem. Specifically, they thought of using a private blockchain using the Hyperledger Fabric platform.
“We started to look at the security threats facing supply chains – specifically how electronic parts that can jeopardize defense platforms and critical assets,” Gaathon.continued.
“We found that, in many cases, the issue (and cause of friction) is that the parts or the data about the parts (or both) are difficult or impossible to identify, link, and trust. Trusted physical identity was simply missing. So we decided to build it. And that’s how DUST was born.”
DUST partners with SAP
DUST Identity announced earlier this week that their service is now available on the SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain. Enterprise users can use the company’s technology to tag objects and enroll them to the DUST Identity ledger.
Basic enterprise pricing is set at $3,600 per month.