Richemont, the Swiss luxury goods giant that owns Cartier, is turning to blockchain in a move aimed to bring transparency to its supply chain.
Jin Keyu, a renowned economist and an associate professor at the London School of Economics (LSE) who was appointed by Richemont as a board member last year, said during a speech at an event on Thursday that the luxury giant aims to use blockchain to control all the “parallel markets.”
“As Cartier’s parent company, we [Richemont] have recently decided to start utilizing blockchain to trace the origin of diamonds, rocks and gold back to the mines or recycling factories. For all the watches we sell, we also hope to (use blockchain) to track their sources to validate their authenticity,” she said.
During her speech Jin also discussed her academic interests and reasons for her move into the blockchain industry, adding that she is to join China-based blockchain startup Ultrain as an adviser to contribute her expertise on macroeconomics.
Jin argued that blockchain projects are often trying to experiment and build monetary policies from scratch, without learning from existing academic research in the field.
“To me, blockchain essentially restructured the entire economic spectrum. … I think it’s extremely interesting because, to solve this broad issue, we need not only microeconomic theories … but also macro ones such as currency, monetary policy and regulation.”
During a fireside chat with CoinDesk, Jin indicated she also plans research to explore questions in the crypto world from the angle of macroeconomics. That work will potentially include designing a cryptocurrency which can perform three essential functions of a currency: storage of value, stability and unit of account.
Originally from Beijing, Jin became the youngest tenured professor at LSE when she was 29, after having obtained her BA, MA and PhD from Harvard. She is frequently invited to appear on international business news outlets for her macroeconomic expertise on issues pertaining to China.
Jin Keyu image courtesy of Ultrain; diamonds image via Shutterstock