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Tencent, Fidelity backed Everledger launches blockchain bottle closures for wine industry

cork wine closure bottle

Today, blockchain provenance company Everledger launched anti-tamper bottle closures powered by blockchain technology. Just seven months ago, the startup received $20m in a Series A funding round from Tencent, Fidelity and others. The smart closures solution is targeted at the wine and spirits industry to prevent counterfeiting. 

It is estimated that counterfeit alcohol costs the global industry about $3 billion every year. On the other hand, it also affects the brand value and trust of consumers. One estimate is that for every real bottle of French wine in there is a fake bottle. 

Leveraging blockchain, Everledger aims to protect wine and alcohol brands from fraudsters and ensure quality control through transparency. 

The solution combines blockchain and NFC-powered bottle closures. These smart caps and corks give a digital identity to a bottle of wine. Machine-readable NFC tags can be applied to labels, heat-shrink capsules, as well as several other options. It means that bottling companies can use NFC labels on existing bottles and without disrupting normal operations. 

“Everledger combines over 20 years of experience in RFID/NFC and asset management with the immutability and secure verification of blockchain,” said Scott Austin, Senior EVP at Everledger. “Our wine solution is a prime example of how to utilize highly secure NFC in unison with blockchain. It’s providing a robust and scalable solution for brand owners.”

The NFC tags are linked to the blockchain network, which records the details of a bottle such as its origin, characteristics of a wine, certifications, variety designation and carbon footprint. The solution is especially beneficial to auction wines that require provenance details to be proven. 

Everledger uses the ‘rolling code’ technology in NFC tags, which acts as a one-time password. When an NFC tag is scanned, the mobile application directs the user to the wine’s landing page through a one time URL. 

Previously, Vigneti Massa adopted blockchain-based closures from Guala for its 2018 vintage wines. 

Meanwhile, Everledger is working on several blockchain provenance solutions. It has diamond traceability projects with ALROSA, Fred Meyer Jewelers in the U.S. and Indian diamond manufacturer Sheetal Group. The company is also using blockchain with DNA tagging for luxury products.