Tencent Makes A Bet on Blockchain

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Tencent, the Chinese technology giant which owns two of the world’s largest social networks and has interests in some of its most successful games, has gained a board seat and a stake in Everledger after leading a $20 million funding round.

Several other investors, including Fidelity and Bloomberg Beta, have also taken part in the investment deal.

Everledger is a blockchain-based platform for verifying the authenticity of items. Starting with diamonds, the company has since expanded to other industries where authenticity plays a critical role.

Tencent’s Diamond-Studded Blockchain Play

According to a press release, Everledger is a perfect candidate for investment from Tencent:

“Tencent’s mission to improve the quality of life through Internet value-added services is alreadyan integral part of Everledger’s business model. Everledger’s purpose is to contribute greaterclarity and confidence in the marketplaces where transparency is a strategic imperative. Thisallows for ever more knowledge and sustainable business practices, as information is surfacedin an unprecedented way. Tencent is now represented in the Everledger board.”

Supply-chain tracking and product verification is seen as one of the obvious use cases for blockchain. For example, William Shatner is backing a blockchain play called Mattereum, which helps collectors verify the authenticity of memorabilia, such as action figures.

Real world use cases for blockchain technology will ultimately play an important role in mass adoption of cryptocurrency. Around the world, particularly in markets like China, people deal with counterfeit products on a regular basis. Could apps built on Everledger or similar platforms be people’s first introduction to blockchain?

Everledger will apparently also be launching WeChat mini program to verify the authenticity of diamonds. WeChat is a highly successful messaging program owned by Tencent which has yet to aggressively expand beyond the home (Chinese) market. WeChat’s mini program platform enables developers to distribute applications to the social network’s more than 600 million users.