Today a new platform for verifying the authenticity of luxury products using blockchain and IoT was launched by PwC, RFID solutions provider Temera, blockchain firm Luxochain and Italian IT services firm Var Group.
Called Virgo, the platform will track supply chains of luxury products from raw materials purchase to manufacturing and sale in the retail market.
In 2018 consultants Bain estimated the personal luxury goods market at €260 billion ($282 billion), worth €84 billion in Europe, €80 billion in the U.S. and €23 billion in China. According to the OECD counterfeits account for 5-9% of general global trade, resulting in almost $20 billion in counterfeit luxury goods annually. However, luxury goods could attract a higher proportion of counterfeits.
“Virgo’s goal is to protect brands’ reputation, creating Digital Certificates of Authenticity and ownership, for each product, providing new value chain-related analytics and insights, improving both loyalty and rewards process between brands and end-users,” said Davide Baldi, CEO of Luxochain.
The platform will allow manufacturers to self-certify product lots using RFID, NFC and blockchain certification. Additionally, brands can integrate Virgo with existing ERP systems.
Consumers can use a mobile application to view details of a product such as its origin, the raw material used, ethical sustainability and environmental and social impact.
“Current certification systems are complex and expensive, while the supplier monitoring system is inadequate to meet the ever-increasing need for transparency in the supply chain,” said Arcangelo D’Onofrio, CEO of Temera.
Luxochain’s blockchain solution enables manufacturers to create a digital passport of a luxury product that is stored on the blockchain. And a digital wallet enables owners to keep their ownership certificates safe on the blockchain.
The second feature is especially beneficial when luxury products are resold on the secondary market. Blockchain enables the smooth transfer of the ownership certificate, and the buyer can also check the authenticity of the product.
The platform uses non fungible tokens (unique tokens ERC721) on the Ethereum blockchain, but it has both permissioned and permissionless solutions.
Previously, Louis Vuitton parent company LVMH said it was using the AURA blockchain for verifying the authenticity of luxury goods. And blockchain provenance firm Everledger is using DNA tagging to prevent counterfeiting of luxury products.
Meanwhile, Mastercard is working on a blockchain traceability solution for high-end clothing.