Arket, a subsidiary of Swedish retail clothing multinational H&M is investigating ways to improve the traceability of its products by leveraging blockchain technology. According to a report by The Next Web, Arket will work with VeChain to trial this new retail blockchain solution. VeChain is a blockchain startup focused on the development of supply chain solutions; it utilizes distributed ledger technology to provide its customers with a system capable of determining the authenticity, quality, and provenance of a product at any given point in the supply chain.
Rumors of the partnership between Arket and VeChain have been going around social media websites like Twitter and Reddit. It all started when excited users (crypto enthusiasts) of these websites started uploading videos of themselves testing out VeChain’s blockchain implementation at Arket locations in London. However, the partnership was officially confirmed by an Arket spokesman in an email to Hard Fork which affirmed that the trial goals was to create an efficient and secure retail blockchain-based system for tracing products.
Speaking to Hard Fork, the spokesman stated that:
“Arket has done a small Proof of Concept (POC) through a pilot testing with VeChain to use blockchain technology to secure product data traceability in the value chain. The test was made on a wool beanie from the autumn 2018 collection.”
Under the proposed system, a user can scan an Arket product using an app current dubbed “VeChain Pro.” The app will then open up the product page, allowing the user to access other information about the product. The name VeChain Pro appears to be temporary as it may change later on when the project is completed.
Retail Blockchain Systems: Other Interesting Use Cases
Blockchain technology has some impressive use cases; however, most people are still not very familiar with the fact that the technology can provide remarkable benefits for the retail industry particularly in the areas of supply chain and inventory management processes. As seen with Arket/VeChain blockchain product, detailed traceability is an attractive blockchain feature for the retail industry. Blockchain technology can be combined with RFID tags and other IoT technologies to provide an efficient system for source-to-factory tracking of raw materials. Moreover, the blockchain’s tamper-proof features will also help build trust amongst supply chain participants since records on the blockchain cannot be altered.
Aside from provenance tracing, blockchain technology also provides a platform for the enhancement of intellectual property protection for designers since they can now document all the steps taken in the creation process. This will help provide a solid proof of creation in the event that a dispute arises. Branded items can also be authenticated using the blockchain, putting an end to the problem of fraud and counterfeiting.
VeChain’s Experience in Retail
VeChain isn’t new to the fashion industry, in 2017, the company teamed up with Babyghost, a Chinese fashion label to integrate Near-Fields Communications (NFC) chips into the labels of its Spring/Summer 2017 collection. The idea was to be able to communicate with an app on the customer’s phone in order to “tell the story” of the dress. The Babyghost blockchain application also allowed customers to interact with their clothes by adding personalized messages, pictures or videos, which can be accessed through the NFC chips.
VeChain is one of the up and coming startups in the blockchain space; the company has been able to collaborate with major players like Microsoft, Renault, and Hyperledger. VeChain’s innovative tech offering and its growing list of business partnerships will allow the company to position itself as a key supply chain solutions innovator in the near future.
So far, many details about VeChain’s partnership with Arket remain unknown. The partners have not revealed details regarding the range of products they are working on and the locations that will be used in the testing phase. It is expected that this information will be made available as the project keeps on developing. Arket has stated that the product is still undergoing testing and is yet to be evaluated.