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Dust Identity to Bring Physical Items to Blockchain

DUST Identity is a new start-up that aims to bring physical items to the blockchain in a new way: through diamond nanoparticles that are read into an optical scanner. DUST stands for “Diamond Unclonable Security Tag,” and it’s said to bring unparalleled security with more than 10^230 unique identifiers. The end goal is to open the doors to a global supply chain that’s immutable and easy to track worldwide.

To help bring the idea and company to fruition, the company previously raised $2.3 million from venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins and was given a grant from DARPA, part of the Department of Defense, for its work in logistics and tracking.

Tying to the Hyperledger

Each time a DUST ID is scanned, the transaction and any associated data and metadata are automatically saved and can be added to SAP Hyperledger for proof and immutable traceability. The DUST ID can be implemented on pretty much anything, such as things as small as transistors on electronics and as big as shipping containers – or larger. Users of the service are able to paint their objects and enroll them on the ledger at will.

One of the co-founders, Ophir Gaathon, shed some light on what caused them to come up with the idea of DUST: “We started to look at the security threats facing supply chains – specifically how electronic parts that can jeopardize defense platforms and critical assets. 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.”

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A World of Possibilities

Tracking items in this manner is a huge leap forward for both item security/identification and showing new uses for blockchain technology. While it can be used for things like shipping items and ensuring the right items were sent and received, it can also be used for things like proving ownership if there’s a theft or a multitude of other things. For example, it can be added to cell phones, laptops, and tablets, all of which are commonly misplaced items that aren’t always returned to their owners. And for those that might be worried about how secure this new technology truly is, here’s a pointer: 10^230 is such a large number that if you were to try to fake one of the embedded designs randomly and you were trying 1 billion times per second, it would still take you an indefinite amount of time to do so (a 3 followed by 213 zeroes after it, if that puts it into perspective). In other words, this is a huge step in physical security.