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Serie A soccer club uses blockchain to certify player jerseys

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Last week at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) Italian football club ACF Fiorentina announced a collaboration with blockchain firm Genuino. The partnership is to authenticate match-worn jerseys of the club’s players, which will be auctioned to fans, supporters and collectors.

ACF Fiorentina, also nicknamed La Viola (The Purple One), is an Italian Serie A soccer club. At the time of writing, it is ranked 14th in the premier Italian league season of 2019-20.

Working with Genuino, the Violas certify the club’s official jerseys using blockchain technology. This is achieved by kitting a dedicated chip, likely an NFC tag, to the player jerseys which will be linked to the blockchain. The duo first trialled the system during last month’s FC Internazionale match played on December 15th, and the AS Roma match played on December 20th.

“Genuino’s solution, offering a product and a service extremely innovative, will allow the tracing of the jersey’s life key moments, creating a digital copy of the physical jersey, to allow us certify and authenticate the same, but also to help us fight counterfeiting and to involve our supporters through innovative products and activations, all over the world,” said Giuseppe Barone, General Manager, ACF Fiorentina.

Although several other European football clubs are trialling blockchain collectibles such as Atletico Madrid, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal and Borussia Dortmund, those are for digital collectibles. In contrast, this one is more about physical product traceability, to prevent people from falsely claiming that a pro player wore a jersey by authenticating the item.

Ledger Insights previously reported on a project by an Amazon engineer in the U.S., who developed a traceability solution for authenticating collectibles. The goal was to provide a trusted grading system to graders and provide an anti-counterfeiting service to the collectible owners.

Coming back to Genuino, the startup was founded in 2018 in the U.S. and participated in the accelerator programme of New York-based Pulse Lab. The firm later shifted shop to Italy from where the founders hail.

The company provides end-to-end supply chain solutions based on distributed ledger technology (DLT) and targets several industries to address anti-counterfeiting. The Fiorentina application was run on the public Ethereum testnet. But the firm states that it is blockchain agnostic and has also previously used enterprise blockchain protocol Multichain.

Last year, French luxury goods company LVMH launched the AURA blockchain network to enable consumers to trace the history and authenticity of luxury goods. The solution was developed in partnership with ConsenSys and Microsoft.

Meanwhile, blockchain provenance company Everledger is using DNA tagging to prevent counterfeiting of luxury products.