News in Brief

Blockchain for Diamond Provenance

Diamond company De Beers has brought forward the activation of a new blockchain system to track its stones through the supply chain in repose the invasion of Ukraine, to give customers confidence that the diamonds they purchase do not come from Russia.

De Beers has been working on the system, called Tracr, since 2018 and has already registered a quarter of its total production by value on the blockchain. Each diamond is given a unique ID when it is mined, and each transaction in the supply chain is recorded immutably on the blockchain, providing a chain of custody for the product all the way to the retailer and guaranteeing its provenance and authenticity.

Diamond traceability is an important measure used to tackle the illicit trade in conflict or ‘blood’ diamonds, which are mined in war zones and have been used to fund oppressive activities in countries like Angola, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea, and Guinea-Bissau.

Tracr has been set up as an independent business, selling access to the platform – which can register 1 million diamonds per week – to producers like De Beers.

OpSec Finances Future Growth

OpSec, the global brand and product digital protection business and a portfolio company of Investcorp Technology Partners, has announced the successful closing of a new credit facility aimed at supporting organic and inorganic growth.

The company has secured up to $125 million of funding to drive its future growth aspirations, particular in new digital capabilities and geographic and market expansion.

Commenting on the arrangement, Bev Dew CFO of OpSec commented: ‘thanks to the strength of our balance sheet, continued track record of growth, and cash generating business model, we have been able to secure an attractive outcome to support our growth plan. The facilities provided will allow OpSec to secure both the business’ existing strong organic growth and drive our corporate M&A agenda.’ 

OpSec offers a arrange of solutions for brand protection, including holographic and other brand identifiers, consumer engagement, investigative services, on-line monitoring, royalty and licence management, data and analysis for intelligent supply chain management, and secure digital print services.

Chiplytics for Secure Semiconductors

Chiplytics, a hardware security company building inspection technology that provides insights into the microelectronics supply chain, has announced its official launch from Scout Ventures, a venture capital firm that invests in technological start-ups before spinning them out.

Chiplytics was co-founded by Stephen DiBartolomeo, an associate at Scout and veteran of the United States Navy, who served as a Cryptologic Warfare Officer at the National Security Agency. His co-founders, Steven Dourmashkin and Matthew Skeels, are engineers from Cornell University working on their second start- up together.

Chiplytics’ proprietary technology, the Chiplytics One, screens every chip going into critical systems for authenticity, ensuring safety and compliance of semiconductors worldwide. It’s also the first inspection platform that combines electrical and optical testing to build data sets to detect small differences to identify clones, counterfeits or damaged chips.

The company plans to leverage these data sets and their proprietary software to help companies source and test chips before they get put into high-reliability systems, saving them from costly recalls and building trust within the public and private sectors.

Counterfeit semiconductors pose an estimated $200 billion risk per year to the global electronics supply chain, and the current global chip shortage makes this risk even greater.

DiBartolomeo built and launched Chiplytics through a collaboration with the National Nuclear Security Administration and Sandia National Labs, where the technology was originally invented. Scout Ventures supported Chiplytics through a $300,000 seed round, with an additional $50,000 of funding from Sandia and the US Army.

BP – A New Name in Security Paper

BP Security is the new name for the security papermaker in Brazil, the only in Latin America, that was formerly owned by Fedrigoni and, before that, Arjowiggins.

The history of Fábrica de Papéis de Salto, as it was previously known, dates back to its foundation in 1888, one year before the formation of the Republic of Brazil. It wasn’t until 1978, however, that it began to produce paper for Brazilian banknotes.

By then the mill, which is located just outside São Paulo, was under the ownership of Arjowiggins, who had acquired it the previous year. In 2015, Arjowiggins sold it to Fedrigoni for €85 million. At that time, it had an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes and annual sales of €70 million, and exported to countries throughout the region. It was renamed Fedrigoni Brasil Papéis Ltda. In 2018, Fedrigoni was acquired by Bain Capital, and two years later, the mill was sold to a group of private Brazilian investors for an unspecified sum.

The company has been divided into two – Blendpaper for speciality and commercial paper, and BP Security for banknote and security paper. In addition to mould made paper for currency, the latter also produces paper for passports, cheques, lottery tickets, certificates and tax stamps. Its product and technology portfolio includes thread and fibre insertion, hologram stipe application, taggants, markets and anti- bacterial/anti-viral solutions.

New SICPA Campus for Economy of Trust

Security solutions specialist SICPA has unveiled the name for its new campus in Lausanne – unlimitrust.

Formerly known as Square One, the aim of the new campus, the first of its kind, is to bring together diverse partners promoting the ‘Economy of Trust’, linking the security of the physical world with its digital counterpart in order to protect goods and people from the vulnerabilities created by today’s global digitalised economy and governance.

As such, the new campus will serve as a centre of excellence that will bring together SICPA employees with start-ups, companies, investors, entrepreneurs, academics and other stakeholders in the field of trust technologies.

According to SICPA, the Economy of Trust worldwide is one in which transactions, interactions and products across the physical and digital worlds are based on protected, unforgeable and verifiable data. The campus will promote trust at large, encouraging new ideas, new collaborations, and the development of new trust technologies.

The unlimitrust campus will open its doors to the first tenants in the second half of 2022.