Nobody likes knockoffs. Crypto-anchors and blockchain will unite against counterfeiters.

Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors and blockchain technology will ensure a product’s authenticity -- from its point of origin to the hands of the customer.

 

Nobody likes knockoffs. Crypto-anchors and blockchain will unite against counterfeiters.

Within the next five years, cryptographic anchors and blockchain technology will ensure a product’s authenticity -- from its point of origin to the hands of the customer.

 

Today, product fraud is rampant

Fraud costs the global economy more than $600 billion a year. And in some countries, nearly 70 percent of certain life-saving drugs are counterfeit. Complex supply chains -- comprised of dozens of suppliers in multiple countries -- make it difficult to prevent bad actors from tampering with everything from paper currency to consumer electronics. Blockchain technology is poised as the future of digital transactions, infusing trust, efficiency and transparency into supply chains. But blockchains alone cannot ensure the authenticity of physical goods.

Challenges facing us today

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Fraud costs the global economy more than $600 billion a year.

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Through the global supply chain, products often change hands repeatedly before reaching their destination. Counterfeits can be introduced at any point along the way.

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In some countries, nearly 70 percent of certain life-saving pharmaceuticals are counterfeit.

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Blockchains alone cannot ensure the authenticity of physical goods.

Live presentation

IBM Researcher Andreas Kind discusses his work on crypto-anchors that can authenticate a product’s origin and contents, ensuring it matches the blockchain record.

 

Live presentation

IBM Researcher Andreas Kind discusses his work on crypto-anchors that can authenticate a product’s origin and contents, ensuring it matches the blockchain record.

 

Combating fraud with blockchain and crypto-anchors

IBM researchers are developing crypto-anchors, tamper-proof digital fingerprints, to be embedded into products, or parts of products, and linked to the blockchain. These fingerprints can take many forms such as tiny computers or optical codes, but when they are tied to a blockchain, they represent a powerful means of proving a product’s authenticity.

For example, crypto-anchors can be embedded into an edible shade of magnetic ink, which can be used to dye a malaria pill. The code could become active and visible from a drop of water letting a consumer know it is authentic and safe to consume.

Crypto-anchors are highly secure because they are embedded in the product and consist of cryptographic mechanisms that provide unclonable identification.

These crypto-anchors pave the way for new solutions that can combat fraud and protect consumers. The first models could be made available to clients in the next 18 months. And within the next five years, advances in microfluidics, packaging platforms, cryptography, non-volatile memory, and design will take all of these systems from the lab to the marketplace.

Some Crypto-anchors will do more than authenticate physical goods

The world’s smallest computer is an IBM-designed edge device architecture and computing platform that is smaller than a grain of salt will cost less than ten cents to manufacture and can monitor, analyze, communicate, and even act on data. It packs several hundred thousand transistors into a footprint barely visible to the human eye and can help verify that a product has been handled properly throughout its long journey.

 

Some Crypto-anchors will do more than authenticate physical goods

The world’s smallest computer is an IBM-designed edge device architecture and computing platform that is smaller than a grain of salt will cost less than ten cents to manufacture and can monitor, analyze, communicate, and even act on data. It packs several hundred thousand transistors into a footprint barely visible to the human eye and can help verify that a product has been handled properly throughout its long journey.

 

 

 

What if a crypto-anchor cannot be embedded directly onto an product such as a liquid or expensive metal?

IBM scientists have created a crypto-anchor that combines a mobile sensor (or cell phone) outfitted with a special optical device and AI algorithms to learn and identify the optical structure and features of certain objects. It can also identify the presence of DNA sequences in minutes.

 

What if a crypto-anchor cannot be embedded directly onto a product as a liquid or expensive metal?

IBM scientists have created a crypto-anchor that combines a mobile sensor (or cell phone) outfitted with a special optical device and AI algorithms to learn and identify the optical structure and features of certain objects. It can also identify the presence of DNA sequences in minutes.

 

Illustration of a supply chain using blockchain technology

Predictions

IBM 5 in 5 predictions