Last Sunday, June 18 was the 6.18 shopping festival in China, the country’s second largest. Nike partnered with AntChain for product traceability using its blockchain combined with dynamic encrypted NFC chips embedded in the shoes. So far more than 130,000 pairs of shoes have used the technology. AntChain is a sister company of AliPay, China’s largest payments app.
In the early days, these solutions were primarily used to authenticate that a product is original and not a knock off. Nowadays, most solutions including this one, track the origin of the product.
Nike has been exploring this kind of solution for a few years, having run a proof of concept with Macy’s in the early days of the pandemic.
For now, much of Nike’s blockchain interest is around web3, non-fungible tokens and the metaverse. It launched its .Swoosh web3 platform last year and just announced a collaboration with EASports to include virtual shoes and apparel in its games. It recently ran a teaser on Twitter that today is the start of a Sneakerhunt on Fortnite.
Meanwhile, AntChain is part of the Ant Group, the company that operates AliPay. The Nike offering uses AntChain Traceability as a Service (TaaS). It has its own proprietary blockchain. In September 2020 it launched Trusple, a blockchain solution for SME trade finance partnering with several banks such as Citi, Standard Chartered and DBS Bank.
The company has been working on confidential computing and multiparty computation that enables organizations to share data for calculations, without disclosing the data itself. Earlier this month it unveiled a privacy preserving computing platform.