Bloomberg Businessweek

Tech Fights Conflict Minerals

Startups are using blockchain to ensure commodities come from sustainable mines

Tantalum, tin, tungsten, and gold, often grouped together in mining industry jargon as 3TG, are vitally important to the industrial economy, used in high-tech products from smartphones to jets. But these conflict minerals, as they’re known, frequently follow a sketchy path from mine to factory, coming from mines whose profits flow to violent militias, criminals, and even terrorists. As human-rights groups step up pressure on big companies to better police the provenance of raw materials in the $600 billion industry, Nathan Williams says he can help.

He’s chief executive officer of Minespider, a startup that’s using blockchain, the technology at the heart of Bitcoin, to better track

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