Global luxury giants Richemont, LVMH and the Prada Group — ordinarily fierce competitors — have joined forces to create a blockchain solution that they hope will become a standard for brands across the industry.
Louis Vuitton, Prada and Cartier have been named as founding brands for the Aura Blockchain Consortium, which aims to provide secure digital authentication and certification of luxury goods ranging from timepieces to high fashion and accessories.
“The Aura Consortium represents an unprecedented cooperation in the luxury industry. Blockchain is a key technology to enhance customer service, relationship with partners and traceability,” says Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier International.
“The luxury industry creates timeless pieces and must ensure that these rigorous standards will endure and remain in trustworthy hands. We therefore invite the entire profession to join this consortium to design a new luxury era enabled by blockchain technology”, he adds.
Aura’s blockchain-based solution will provide incorruptible data on a product’s provenance and history along with proof of authenticity, addressing the challenges of traceability, responsible sourcing and sustainability.
Aura will make it possible for consumers to access product history and proof of authenticity of luxury goods – from sourcing to sales, all the way to second-hand markets, the consortium promises.
The Aura Blockchain Consortium was born from a vision that collaboration with the competition can coexist for the greater good. “We value trust, sustainability, innovation, and collaborative decisions to enhance the luxury experience of our customers,” the organization states on its website, which launched yesterday.
By becoming a technological hub for brands, Aura hopes to usher in a new luxury era enlightened by the potential of blockchain, it adds.
Aura’s intended benefits for consumers
- Proving authenticity & ownership of goods
- Accessing product history information
- Strengthening client relationship through enhanced transparency
- Accessing new services provided by the brands
- Ensuring products are made & handled according to the standards set out by brands.
- Building client trust (with no intermediaries)
- Protecting markets against counterfeiting, controlling secondhand markets
At the manufacturing end, Aura will create a unique digital ID for every product so that it can be traced throughout its lifetime, a crucial offer for luxury watches in a world of increasingly sophisticated super fakes.
As products go to market, the Aura blockchain will keep a record of every transaction as manufacturers sell to distributors then to retailers and onto end consumers.
Customers will get a digital authenticity certificate along with their purchase and any servicing and repairs carried out on their items will also create records on the blockchain.
Like a car’s service history, this has the potential to increase the resale value of luxury goods like watches because customers buying second hand will be able to see the entire history of the piece.
Several watch brands are already piloting blockchain-based authentication including Breitling and Vacheron Constantin, but an industry-wide global standard is likely to accelerate adoption, not least because brands will find it far quicker and easier to start.
“We are here to invite the entire profession to join this new consortium,” says Mr Vigneron.
“This is a young technology and luxury is a slow moving animal so we have to ensure that this standard will last and be in the safe hands of trust,” he concludes.