IBM and Seagate to use blockchain for combating product counterfeiting
On Thursday, IBM and American data storage company Seagate Technology announced a joint project that aims at using blockchain in order to reduce product counterfeiting. Specifically, the initiative will help manufacturers, integrators, and business partners fight counterfeit hard drives.
This sort of counterfeiting is a bigger problem than you may imagine. According to International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition, global trade in counterfeit and pirated electronic products has reached more than $1.7 trillion in value.
The joint project is using the IBM Blockchain Platform to authenticate the sources of disk drive products, bringing a new level of multi-layered security protection in the data management industry. In practice, the platform allows network participants to add and view blockchain data, based on their level of permission. This helps reduce data loss, fraudulent products and warranty costs, while improving product assurance for customers during deployment. According to the project description, Seagate will update the IBM Blockchain Platform on the IBM Cloud with product authentication data based on the Seagate Secure™ Electronic ID (eID) at the point of manufacture.
“Each unique identifier (serving as an electronic fingerprint) can be used to verify the identity of a hard drive at any time during its product life cycle. Seagate’s Certified Erase employs cryptographic erasure technology to produce a digital certificate of data purge, which is electronically signed by the device under the Seagate Secure public key infrastructure (PKI) and stored on the blockchain for compliance management with emerging global data privacy laws”, the technical explanation reads.
According to IBM’s global managing director of electronics industry Bruce Anderson, Blockchain has the potential to be extremely effective in confirming the originality of assets.
“The ability to work with Seagate to combine blockchain with advanced cryptographic product identification technology is what sets this work apart, and signals blockchain’s potential to reimagine the electronics product life cycle management processes,” said Anderson, “Counterfeit electronic components are a global issue that requires an ecosystem-wide effort to address.”
Added senior vice president and chief technology officer of Seagate Mark Re,
“IBM has a proven history of technology innovation as evidenced by its market leadership in blockchain technology for product provenance in various industries. By combining Seagate’s innovations in product security with IBM’s blockchain expertise, we want to prove that we can help reduce the incidence of product counterfeiting in the future.”
As reported, the sides are expecting to create a bigger business network that will allow for new supply chain partners to be added.
IMB has been implementing blockchain oriented projects from 2016. Besides being an early member of Hyperledger, it is working with government, financial services, supply chain, retail, digital rights management and healthcare companies.