A sneaker manufacturer has used blockchain technology to create smart tags that can track their sneakers to the factory, so they are impossible to counterfeit, according to fastcodedesign.com .
The manufacturer, Greats, tapped the services of a software authentication system and a 3-D printer to design the smart tags. The tags include an NFC chip that can be scanned with a smart phone.
The smart tag records the sneakers’ history all the way to its creation.
The technology could prove to be a promising way to battle the $600 billion counterfeit fashion industry.
According to U.S. customs statistics, close to 40% of all counterfeit goods are sneakers, making counterfeiting a $240 billion problem for sneaker manufacturers.
The system can prevent designs from being counterfeited and robbing sales from original manufacturers.
Any design that a licensed factory can mass produce can eventually be manufactured by a counterfeit factory at a cheaper price. The counterfeiter does not have to invest the R&D and original marketing costs.
Original manufacturers have tried using certificates and seals to assure authenticity, but counterfeiters have been able to fake these as well.
Greats, a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based sneaker manufacturer, turned to Origin, a 3-D printing manufacturer, and Chronicled, a sneaker and fashion software authentication company, to develop smart tags for its Beast Mode sneakers. Each 3-D printed smart tag has a unique identification code stamped on it that links to a specific pair of shoes. Each tag has an encrypted NFC chip that can be tracked by a mobile phone.
Because the chip gets baked into the 3-D printing process, it cannot be removed from the plastic without destroying it. The tag allows anyone purchasing the product to track its history.
Chronicled recognized that blockchain technology ensures bitcoins cannot be counterfeited since an encrypted database inseparably links each bitcoin transaction to the prior transaction. The blockchain authenticates the bitcoin and provides a complete record of anyone who spent it.
Chronicled and Origin developed a blockchain for sneaker transactions, treating each smart tag like a bitcoin. When someone scans a smart tag with a mobile app, the smart tag confirms the product’s authenticity and gives the history of everyone who ever owned the sneakers. If someone sells the sneakers, they transfer the ownership of the smart tag within the Chronicled app.
The tags cost only a few dollars each, making the system affordable for manufacturers to use.
The Greats x Beastmode 2.0 Royale Chukkah was the first consumer product to use a bitcoin-like smart tag. Chronicled hopes to apply smart tags to more products.
Dynes, a fashion label, will deploy the technology this year.
Chronicled is also attempting to market the tags to the sneakers aftermarket so companies can assure customers of authenticity. Any sneakers not containing smart tags will have to be authenticated through Chronicled directly before being assigned a smart tag.
Smart tags could make it impossible for counterfeiters to claim their wares are authentic.
Images from Shutterstock and Chronicled.