In a pilot project it was now possible to seamlessly secure a product against counterfeiting along its entire global supply chain using a blockchain. So far, the technology has mainly been used to protect digital currencies such as Bitcoin from fraud.

In its most comprehensive test run to date, Australian developer TBSx3 has now successfully used the blockchain technology to protect a bottle of wine against product piracy along its entire supply chain from Coonawarra, South Australia, to its destination in North-Eastern China. The delivery covered around 8,100 kilometers and was transported by various shipping companies.

All information related to the product, such as its place of production, the date of delivery and its movements along the supply chain, were saved in a blockchain, meaning a decentralised database. The technology, which is being increasingly discussed in the finance sector, offers great potential for enhancing the safety of products in transport. It also ensures a high degree of transparency as it can be checked by all parties involved along the entire supply chain and the data can be called up at any time.

In addition, the TBSx3 team combined the special features of the blockchain with complex encryption technologies to ensure the authenticity of the product at all times, including military grade encryption with 44 alphanumeric characters. In comparison, civilian cryptographies usually only contain six characters.

As a third level of protection, TBSx3 relies on a sophisticated logistics tracking system supported by artificial intelligence. This monitors the transport along the supply chain, learns to detect anomalies and can thus uncover possible weak spots that could expose the supply chain to counterfeiters.

According to TBSx3 founder Mark Toohey, a mosaic of various security measures as counterfeiting protection is no longer enough: instead, a holistic system that covers all parts of the supply chains is required. Therefore the new process based on blockchain technology is an important first step in combating product and brand piracy.

Besides the Australian wine producer IUS Wines, the logistics and delivery firms DP World Australia, DB Schenker and Hamburg South took part in the pilot project. Consulting firm KPMG acted as a control body during the test shipment and verified the authenticity of the product at each transfer point. In addition, at the end of the supply chain, the consulting company simulated the consumer by accepting the product, authenticating it and testing whether the system could detect potential counterfeiting.

Sources: The Australian, Securing Industry