Men make counterfeit money; in many more cases, money makes counterfeit men.”
Sydney J. Harris
Counterfeiting and fake products in various forms are becoming a more and more commonplace issue in the 21st century. In many cases, regular consumers are unable to tell the difference between a real product or a knock off from elsewhere.
I have touched briefly on this issue before in our Medium article on gem certification. Obviously, solutions suited to guaranteeing the authenticity of gemstones are a somewhat expensive proposition for more mass-produced items such as branded clothes, bags etc.
On a fully private blockchain this would not be the case but the cost in transparency makes that an unattractive option with more and more people regularly asking questions along the lines of “Who is watching the watchmen?”
However, with a slight expansion of the current asset capabilities, Raptoreum would be able to handle certifying mass-produced items with full traceability data.
We are currently in the design stages of including the addition of IPFS capabilities to sub-assets. This will enable whole production runs to be issued their own traceability tokens with each token still carrying the full traceability data load through.
The exact methods for adding these tokens to banded goods to facilitate customers verifying their authenticity can be done in a variety of ways.
For the garment and related industries, fabric printers are now getting to the point where adding individual QR code tags can be printed and added during the manufacturing process.
Other industries can make use of rfid both fairly standard and next gen chips, engraving, emblazoning etc the sky really is the limit when it comes to how addresses that hold the tokens can be delivered to the customers.
Why not just do all this on a private corporate blockchain?
The answer is quite simple, “transparency and mutability” with a private chain you start having to trust that the chain owners is not altering the chain. Private chains are also quite susceptible to several types of exploits given that they frequently operate at relatively low hashrates and generally are not as distributed as public chains. For non-public facing records such as bookkeeping or transaction records these are excellent and adequate solutions. However, when consumer protection is involved, the full transparency offered by public opensourced chains is still unrivalled.