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This startup is trying to replace serial numbers with diamond dust


Diamonds are forever. 

Koichi Yajima / EyeEm

Diamonds might look good on fingers, but you might also find them on hardware soon.

Dust Identity, a startup that’s trying to use diamond dust to mark objects, launched on Wednesday and said it has secured $2.3 million in seed funding from investors Kleiner Perkins, New Science Ventures, Angular Ventures and Castle Island Ventures.

“Lack of hardware integrity can have a devastating impact on many levels,” said Ophir Gaathon, CEO and co-founder at Dust Identity, in a release. “We help enterprises and governments to prevent hardware tampering and data breaches.”

The Boston-based company’s tech, Diamond Unclonable Security Tag (DUST), uses an invisible thin layer of coating made of tiny diamonds on the surface of products during the manufacturing stage, which can substitute for serial numbers or a barcode or QR code.

Workers can use optical scanners and a cloud-based data tracking system to ensure products’ authenticity. The pattern of the diamond dust in the coating is the key — it’s authentic if a hardware’s diamond pattern matches exactly to its stored pattern in the database.

This hardware authentication method is an “unclonable and uncompromisable security tracking solution,” the startup claims in a release. It isn’t expensive either because the startup makes nano-diamonds from diamond waste, according to a Dust Identity spokeswoman.

Born at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dust Identity was founded by Ophir Gaathon, Jonathan Hodges and Dirk Englund. It has a team of experts in quantum physics, nanotechnology and cybersecurity. Dust Identity has also participated in several Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) programs. 

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