New Balance Goes Digital – Stamping Out Counterfeits

All the talk about blockchain can deafening, drowning out the message of its promise. It is hard to filter through all of the information and pull out the tangible use cases. Blockchain technology needs to earn the public’s trust, but mainstream adoption is limited by a steep learning curve.

This is why we are proud to have linked up with the iconic and much-loved Boston-based footwear brand New Balance to leverage blockchain in the fight against counterfeit sneakers. The launch of their new basketball sneaker OMN1S saw New Balance implement our chip-to-chain technology and integrate Cardano’s blockchain so that their sneakers can always be authenticated by their loyal customer base. We believe that to successfully stop the flow of knockoff goods, the public has to be part of the solution!

We’re thrilled to see the footwear giant innovate ahead of the curve with technology that often gets overlooked due to its complicated nature. This innovation creates a customer connection unlike anything seen before. New Balance is enhancing trust in its brand by offering the ability to record ownership and provenance, and validate authenticity.

Counterfeiting is a Massive Economic Problem

Counterfeiting results in billions of dollars of lost revenue each year. The numbers are staggering; within the global pharmaceutical space between $75 and $100 billion in counterfeit drugs are sold each year. In the electronics industry, fake parts cost manufacturers about $100 billion annually. And in the European luxury goods market, about 10% of all items for sale are counterfeit, representing approximately $28 billion in lost value. Worldwide the counterfeiting of luxury goods is a $1.2 trillion business, according to the 2018 Global Brand Counterfeiting Report. It’s surprisingly complex and its reach is pernicious. Fraudulent parts affect every stage of the product lifecycle, from the manufacturing floor to the point of sale to beyond, stacking up costs, eroding revenues, damaging legacies and brand reputations.

Companies have been battling counterfeits for years – investing time and resources to protect against the risk of fake and defective parts entering the production system and to stop uncanny lookalikes. Until now, companies have had to operate in the dark, because fragmented data, networks and sourcing arrangements make it difficult to trace and authenticate.

Tangem Puts an End to Counterfeiting

At Tangem, we strive to create trust through physical, irrefutable proof. We know how to address social trust issues using technical solutions. With blockchain, there’s no need for a trusted intermediary to facilitate any exchange. Trust can be established not by economic or political institutions, but by technology alone. That’s huge, and now we have the ability to democratize access to that trust. We are providing a tool for brands that incentivizes their customers to adopt anti-counterfeiting methods and gently influences behavior in a positive direction.

“We are using blockchain technology to innovate at multiple points of the customer lifecycle,” said Ian Fitzpatrick, head of global content and digital marketing at New Balance. “We’re also helping customers feel confident that the footwear they are purchasing fulfills the quality promise that is central to the New Balance brand.”

How Does it Work?

With the New Balance OMN1S shoe, customers receive a New Balance Realchain card with our embedded identity and security chip.

The customer can then use the New Balance app to scan a QR code on the card with the app and will be prompted to scan the NFC chip within the card. This process authenticates the shoes on the Cardano blockchain. Customers can then claim ownership of the shoes by entering a code printed on the tongue of the shoes into the app. They securely, officially, and verifiably own the shoes! That’s trust through blockchain


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