To address conflict mineral sourcing, “MineSpider, created in 2017, has adapted bitcoin technology in a way that will allow companies to be confident in their sourcing, and be able to report their supply chain due diligence to governments, without disclosing their supply chains to competitors. “There’s a lot of thoughts on how to keep sensitive data private,” MineSpider founder and CEO Nathan Williams said. “The problem with private blockchain, if brands want to have their own private blockchain, a miner would have five different systems to use.” To overcome this issue, he and his team built a layered blockchain system using Ethereum, an open-source platform which aims to replace third-party systems holding complex data on cloud networks. The platform allows developers to create apps and other programs based on blockchain technology.
Williams describes MineSpider as “an onion, or a Russian doll.”
“We have two layers – a data layer and an Ethereum layer. Ethereum is the blockchain immutable layer, and on that we are storing a ton of material, how much in shipments and the grade,” he said. “Then there is a link to a packet of data. One layer of data is data you want everyone to see. Another layer is private data that needs to be registered as unchangeable, which is only available to customers. The third layer is key – we encrypt the first two layers, and then asymmetrically encrypt that with the key of your customer.”
Companies can then provide keys to customers and regulators, which will have encrypted access to the data. This creates a system that allows certain recipients to read sensitive data, which allows mining companies to provide receipts that they’ve done their due diligence while also protecting their supply chain details.
MineSpider has developed the software and is now preparing its first pilots. Williams says the firm is in negotiations with several large companies, including one sizable auto manufacturer in Germany. MineSpider is also working to develop a system which can be used by artisanal miners.
Keywords: Supporting Labor Rights and Responsible Supply Chain Practices, Dodd-Frank, Conflict Minerals, Germany, Mining Industry, Blockchain for human rights, Traceability of responsibly sourced goods, MineSpider