News hardware NFT: useless for some, but essential to fight counterfeiting. We explain how.
NFTs aren’t just for digital art. Since their emergence, virtual certificates in the form of tokens have been the subject of multiple experiments to test their limits. After the multinationals, it is the turn of the major political institutions to deepen the use of NFT technology.
NFT, true digital tracers
In addition to digital art, NFTs can be used in the authentication of multiple objects. It must in fact be considered that a non-fungible token is above all a sort of certificate based on the blockchain (large secure virtual register) associated with an “object”.
Although this object is usually digital, such as a video or photo, the NFT can still take the form of a physical object. As a true digital marker, NFT technology can be associated with a physical entity such as a document, a fabric, a game, etc …
Consequently, NFTs can be a real asset in the fight against replicas and counterfeits of all kinds.
The consequences of counterfeiting on the European Union
For example, textile brands such as Gucci, Nike and many others are massively imported into the West. Even high-tech products such as AirPods or fake iPhones are the subject of more or less convincing replicas.
The import of counterfeit products to Europe has grown over the years. In 2020, according to the French anti-counterfeiting association, an estimated 5.6 million counterfeits were blocked at French borders.
For the whole of Europe, the loss of earnings for industries is colossal. The INPI reports that in 2016 the import of this type of goods generated losses of 83 billion. In this sense, through the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), the EU wants to find solutions to actively combat this scourge – and NFTs could be THE solution …
The European Union relies on NFTs in the fight against counterfeiting
Aware of the shortcomings that continue to increase every year, the EUIPO recently unveiled a surprising plan, leveraging non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in the fight against counterfeiting.
Through these various hackathons, participatory programming events, the EU offers to use the blockchain for tracking and tracing of goods. After 5 years of studies, the EUIPO has already completed the development of its software. Called the Anti-Counterfeiting Blockathon Infrastructure, the blockchain and NFT-based tool can be rolled out across several commodity sales companies by 2023.
Using blockchain technology, intellectual property rights holders (licensed companies) will be able to create digital tokens associated with their products. This virtual certificate in the form of a token can be physically associated with the product to guarantee its authenticity for life, for example in the form of a QR code.
Therefore, by consulting the registry, a user or a company will be able to judge whether the product is counterfeit. Thanks to the NFT smart contract, it will be impossible to modify the token and even less to create one to associate it with a fake product.
If this ambitious project succeeds in seeing the light, the EU and its industries could have an efficient tool to fight counterfeiting. This utility is also expected to restore the reputation of non-fungible token technology, often criticized for its speculative aspect in the world of digital art.