RAMAT GAN - Israel's diamond exchange is turning to digital currencies to inject new life into a marketplace long ruled by cash and backroom handshakes, but it must first persuade traditionally conservative players that the technology can work.
One of the world's largest diamond centers, the exchange hopes its virtual currency will make trading more efficient and less opaque.
Current transactions are "often carried out anonymously, with the shake of a hand and minimal documentation", according to a recent report by Israel's Justice Ministry. That murkiness has led the FBI and Europol to target the trade as a vehicle for money laundering and crime financing.
Narrow profit margins between rough and polished gems make it hard for polishers to get financing, and banks have cut back lending or pulled out entirely.
Backers of the digital currency programme believe it will help address those issues.
The exchange is planning to launch two coins.