By Michelle Graff
London—Blockchain provider Everledger announced Tuesday that it has secured its first significant round of venture capital funding, $20 million backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd.

Based in Shenzhen, China, Tencent is a digital media and telecom conglomerate that’s one of the 10 biggest tech companies in the world by market cap, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Tencent now holds a seat on the Everledger board.

Also participating in the Series A round of funding were: Bloomberg Beta, Fidelity, Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten, and two venture capital firms, Graphene Ventures—whose investment portfolio includes Lyft and Snapchat—and Vickers Venture Partners.

2019 Leanne Kemp Everledger WRAP Leanne Kemp, founder of EverledgerBased in London and led by founder and CEO Leanne Kemp, Everledger has developed blockchain platforms for both colored gemstones, created in partnership with Gübelin Gem Lab, and diamonds, as well as fine wine, other luxury goods and the management of electronics waste.

The company offered its technology pro bono for the Moyo Gemstones pilot project in Tanzania, which aims to move the production of female miners in the Tanga region from mine to market. 

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The news that Everledger has completed its Series A funding comes less than a week after the company announced it was launching version 2.0 of its blockchain platform, and now has a partnership with Spanish jewelry manufacturer Facet, which launched a collection of blockchain-traced diamond jewelry, “DiamondByway.”

Everledger said it is the first collection of traceable jewelry in Europe.

In the wake of Tencent’s investment, Everledger said it plans to launch a program on WeChat—the Tencent-developed messaging (like WhatsApp), social media and payments app for the Chinese market—for blockchain-enabled diamonds that “aims to empower WeChat users to buy jewelry with more transparency and security.”

An Everledger spokesperson declined to share additional details on the WeChat Mini Program at this time.

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