Australia to use blockchain authenticator for sports merchandise

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The Australian sport industry adopts a blockchain authenticator in an effort to prevent counterfeit merchandise

The Australian National Rugby League (NRL) and IP Australia are setting out to try a blockchain authenticator in order to combat counterfeit merchandise.

The system works by handing out a “trust badge” to online retailers that are certified to sell authentic products. These badges will appear on their website to indicate it is authorised by IP Australia.

The trial will begin with two online stores, the NRL Shop and Savvy Supporter. These are both that offer official NRL goods.

Trademarked documents will be digitised and stored in a blockchain, creating a bridge between the retailer and the government intellectual property regulators to quickly confirm authenticity and trademark status.

This technology will not only ensure the legitimacy of the brand, but it also builds trust amongst consumers and fans of the sports.

Shaun McMartin, a general manager at NRL shared his ideas:

“NRL members and fans are the lifeblood of our sport who want to buy the genuine article when supporting their club – the Trust Badge helps NRL fans identify authentic and licensed products online…counterfeiting damages legitimate wholesalers and retailers who invest in genuine products and robs the NRL Clubs of much-needed revenue.”

Blockchain magic

Aside from selling sports merchandise, the trademark blockchain could potentially be used to safeguard other luxury goods such as expensive watches, purses, or other high-end items.

By using blockchain, all trademark documents are recorded in a ledger, then encrypted with cryptography and sent to all participants of the blockchain. Any unauthorised changes will immediately be restored, making all documents immutable.

While it is a good system, it will be important to ensure that trust badges are only possessed by authorised retailers, and are very difficult to reproduce.

A bigger presence in sports

A top-tier NBA team, The Sacramento Kings worked with ConsenSys and Treum to develop the “Jersey Authentication Program,” where each jersey worn by players will have a secret counterfeit-proof tag hidden in its hems.

After being worn by athletes, these jerseys can become a luxury product and be sold at a phenomenal price.

A match-worn jersey could sell for more than $1,000, making them a clear target for counterfeiters. Although these programs are in their infancy, blockchain-based authentication is likely to be a growing industry in the coming years.

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