Mastercard Announces Plan For Tackling Counterfeit Fashion On Blockchain

Mastercard blockchain Provenance Carrefour Starbucks

Mastercard is preparing to unveil new blockchain tools for product tracking at an upcoming fashion show, as the firm continues to experiment with blockchain technologies.

The global payments giant announced this week it would demo its new blockchain-powered product tracking platform at an event it is hosting in conjunction with MADE and Fred Segal Sunset.

The platform, dubbed “Provenance,” allows customers to track the journey products take from the point of manufacture to the point of sale, providing greater transparency about goods across the supply chain.

Similar platforms are already in use at a number of large European supermarket chains including Carrefour, as well as coffee shop giant Starbucks, with blockchain transactions recording data about products and raw materials from supplier to shop.

The technology is proving popular with environmentally conscious consumers, as well as with growing demographics of ethically driven buyers. Recording immutable data about products and their components, Mastercard hopes its solution will help build consumer trust in supply chains.

Sherri Haymond, executive vice-president of digital partnerships at Mastercard, said the technology allows firms to share better-quality product information with their customers.

“Leveraging innovative technology solutions, we are able to tell the stories of the products consumers are buying.”

In particular, the product is focused on the fashion industry, where counterfeits and fakes are a significant problem for brands. The problem is even more acute at the luxury end of the market, with high-end brands estimated to have lost as much as $30.3 billion to fakes in 2017.

Mastercard has said it plans to use the Provenance platform in partnership with a number of brands, “to provide a clear record of traceability, designed to contribute to consumer confidence and trust by creating awareness of the authenticity of the product.”

The project is thought to be one of many under development at Mastercard, which has taken steps to bolster its blockchain dev resources in recent months.

The move shows yet another major global player in the payments sector turning toward blockchain, at a time when an increasing number of sectors are benefiting from distributed ledger technology.