Global luxury conglomerate LVMH is developing a blockchain solution to authenticate luxury merchandise.
The platform, called AURA, is designed to track luxury goods and prove their authenticity using blockchain technology. It will go live in May for Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior brands before being opened up to LVMH’s other luxury brands and even competitors.
LVHM Blockchain Tracking Solution
Luxury brands are struggling to address the biggest problem facing the industry—how to prove the authenticity of luxury items in a market flooded with strikingly similar fakes. It is a massive problem that even traditional methods of policing have failed to solve. But with blockchain, it makes it easier to track luxury items and verify their authenticity to ensure they were manufactured by a genuine company.
LVMH blockchain solution is built on Quorum, an Ethereum blockchain network developed by JP Morgan. Quorum focuses on data privacy which essentially guarantees that no information is leaked between brands and customers. Additionally, LVHM hired a full-time team to work on the project, alongside ConsenSys and Microsoft Azure.
A source involved with the project told Coindesk that AURA will provide provenance of luxury items and trace the product’s journey “from raw materials to point of sale and beyond to used-goods markets.”
The statement further reads:
“The next phase of the platform will explore protection of creative intellectual property, exclusive offers, and events for each brands’ customers, as well as anti-ad fraud.”
LVMH’s biggest problem would be getting rivals on board. Presumably, LVMH would retain ultimate control of the technology itself, potentially dictating what would be tracked. IBM faced similar problems with its blockchain venture with Maersk, TradeLens. Traditionally, freight movers were hesitant to sign up on the blockchain. The primary objections from trade logistic experts was a fear of too much control by IBM and Maersk.
But according to Coindesk, LVMH intends to offer AURA blockchain platform in “white-label” form to its competitors. This would involve signing over the intellectual property to a separate entity that is owned by participating brands.
Blockchain for Tracking Luxury Goods
LVMH, who owns over 60 luxury brands including, Louis Vuitton, Hublot and Christian Dior, hopes to boost its competitive edge. However, it is not the only global company building a blockchain provenance system for luxury items. Arianee, a nonprofit consortium based in Paris, is launching a similar solution collectively managed by participating brands.
Meanwhile, global diamond manufacturer De Beers has developed an open-source blockchain platform caller Tracr to help trace supply chain of diamond from mine to shop floor.
Lastly, VeChain is another project using blockchain technology to improve supply chain traceability and provenance. More specifically, the platform enables recording and storing of large amounts of data. This gives producers and consumers confidence in their products by restoring trust to the supply chain system.