MIT Startup Raises $10M for Diamond Dust Object Identification


There’s a saying that “diamonds are forever”. Diamond dust is a very strong and secure matter. These properties are what has enabled MIT-based startup DUST Identity to create its unique supply chain solution in 2018. It’s been barely 9 months since then. However, last month they announced that it was able to raise $10m in a Series A funding for product development and engineering.

Kleiner Perkins led the round of investments. Other participants were Airbus Ventures, New Science Ventures, Lockheed Martin Ventures, and Castle Island Ventures. “Investing in DUST Identity’s technology offers the potential to enhance the verification and traceability process for all parts at multiple tiers in the supply chain”, said VP of Lockheed Martin Ventures Chris Moran.

What does DUST Identity do?

The purpose of DUST Identity’s solution is to provide a trusted identity for a specific object. The physical identifier is created using a thin layer of nano-engineered diamond dust. The diamond fragments are inserted into the polymer sprayed on the object.

When it dries, the crystals remain frozen in place, creating a unique light pattern. Such light pattern is simply impossible to reproduce because it’s too random.

Sounds expensive?

The technology used is quite economical, making it not expensive at all. They use low-cost industrial diamond waste that they purify and engineer into diamond dust. It’s also environmentally-friendly since the waste receives a second life. However, the implications of it can be tremendous for supply chains.

The diamond dust identifier protects a product’s integrity throughout the entire supply process. This layer of protection adds a strong layer of security and transparency to the supply chain process. The buyer can scan the using the identifier to see that it matches to ensure that an object has not been tampered. A disturbance on the diamond coating is a clear sign of interference.

Blockchain and diamonds

Like many modern companies, DUST Identity realized the value of blockchain technology for supply chain transparency. Physical product identifiers are just the latest innovation by the Massachusetts company. The DUST Ledger service incorporates the actual physical asset onto a blockchain ledger. The asset’s coating is scanned to be lodged into the system. DUST Identity’s partnership with SAP last year allowed for that product‘s launch. It’s currently available for $3,600 per month.

Implementing physical anchors into blockchain ledgers is similar with RFID and QR codes. However, it’s much harder for a hacker or a counterfeiter to disturb or damage a unique layer of diamond dust.

The lead investor of Kleiner Perkins Ilya Fushman mentioned that, “At a time when there is a growing trust gap between manufacturers and suppliers, DUST Identity’s diamond particle tag provides a better solution for product authentication and supply chain security than existing technologies.” Indeed, judging by the promised low cost and potentially wide applications of the technology, we can expect to hear a lot about DUST Identity in the near future.

YouTube: DUST Overview: Technology Demo

Photo credits: The feature image is a still frame from the presented video and is owned by DUST Identity. All images used are owned by DUST Identity and were provided for press usage.
Sources: DUST Identity Press RoomRon Miller (TechCrunch and TechCrunch) / John Biggs (Coindesk) / David Z. Morris (Fortune)

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Kate Sukhanova
Kate Sukhanova
I’m a writer with a keen interest in digital technology and traveling. If I get to write about those two things at the same time, I’m the happiest person in the room. When I’m not scrolling through newsfeeds, traveling, or writing about it, I enjoy reading mystery novels, hanging out with my cat, and running my charity shop.
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