Tencent eyes diamond e-commerce after leading UK-based blockchain firm Everledger’s USD 20 million Series A

Tencent will launch a diamond-themed WeChat mini program supported by Everledger’s blockchain technology.

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London-based blockchain startup Everledger announced Wednesday that it has completed its USD 20 million Series A funding led by China’s internet giant Tencent, according to a company’s press release.

Graphene Ventures, Bloomberg Beta, Rakuten, Fidelity and Vickers Venture Partners have also participated. The new round brings the firm’s total funds to USD 30.4 million, after its USD 10 million in a Series A round in March 2018.

The fresh funds will be used to continue improving transparency, sustainability and traceability across global supply chains, said the founder and Everledger’s CEO Leanne Kemp.

Founded in 2015, Everledger is an independent blockchain-enabled management and tracking firm of supply chains. The company claims to be a pioneer in the use of blockchain technology for tracking diamonds and deliver secure and digital grading reports, in addition to certification authenticity, to consumers.

Everledger’s service is based on IBM Blockchain, which relies on Hyperledger Fabric. Previously, the company worked with other blockchain technologies, such as EthereumEris, and BigchainDB.

In the fundraising press release, the startup said it will cooperate with Tencent to launch a diamond-themed WeChat mini program supported by its blockchain technology, the first of its kind worldwide.

The mini program, which will unite key stakeholders in the diamond value chain, aims to empower WeChat users to buy jewelry with more transparency and security, said Everledger.

Tencent, mostly known as a social network giant and the world’s largest gaming company, has a big ambition in e-commerce, which is also the core business of another Chinese internet giant, Alibaba, as shown by Tencent’s various investments in e-commerce companies such as JD.com and Pinduoduo.

The company has been speeding up in integrating live streaming features into its WeChat mini program platform to boost e-commerce, KrASIA reported earlier this month.

The blockchain-enabled diamond mini program could also serve as a differentiating feature to lure diamond buyers away from Alibaba’s Tmall and brick-and-mortar stores in China.