Walimali, a Chinese start-up business, is now using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Blockchain technology to uncover and fight the spread of imitation baby formula powder. To do this, the developers combined the two technologies into special labels that serve to secure and track products along the entire supply chain, thus providing comprehensive protection against counterfeiting.
The company’s work follows two milk powder scandals that severely shocked the Chinese population and caused several deaths (we reported). More than half of Chinese consumers still prefer to buy such products from well-known foreign companies instead of relying on Chinese products, according to a recent customer survey conducted by consulting firm McKinsey & Co.
“Our answer to the problem is to apply technology that gives the consumer a tool to tell apart counterfeits from authentic products at every step in the supply chain,” said Alexander Busarov, co-founder and CEO of Walimali.
For this purpose, the start-up company relies on RFID labels that can be individually designed for each product and scanned throughout the supply chain. Here, the blockchain technology, a kind of decentralised database, plays a decisive role: With every check, the database entries of the codes are updated and the linked blockchain is extended accordingly.
End customers can scan the labels with a dedicated smartphone app in order to verify the authenticity of their product. The label can also provide information on where the product was manufactured, how it should be consumed and what ingredients it contains. In addition, customers can trace their product’s movements along the supply chain.
Other vendors are also looking to use innovative solutions with blockchain technology as counterfeit protection: A group of Australian developers, for example, recently completed a comprehensive test run, successfully tracking and securing a bottle of wine along its entire global supply chain (we reported).