Report: New Amazon blockchain solution targets product authenticity

Dan Berthiaume
Senior Editor, Technology
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Amazon has reportedly patented a new blockchain solution designed to create transparency and trust in its e-commerce supply chain.

According to FreightWaves, Amazon’s patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is for a blockchain system meant to provide “verifiable tracking of an item through a supply chain using a distributed electronic ledger.” The May 26 patent filing cites that the reliability of blockchain data will overcome trust problems caused by lack of database transparency and ensure goods sold on the Amazon platform are legitimate.

The system is designed to enable all supply chain participants, including manufacturers, distributors and even consumers, to obtain access to real-time supply chain data. In addition, Amazon will be able to include a certification authority to verify the authenticity of items entering the supply chain, as well as test and certify products as they travel through.

Amazon has been heavily focusing on identifying and removing counterfeit items from its site, particularly the third-party Amazon Marketplace platform. In February 2019, Amazon launched Project Zero, a program providing automated protections that continuously scan Amazon’s online stores using its machine learning capabilities. Brands provide Amazon with their logos, trademarks and other key data, and Amazon scans over 5 billion product listing updates every day, looking for suspected counterfeits.

Amazon is also using anti-counterfeiting tools such as product serialization, has canceled merchandise orders it suspected of being counterfeit, and more recently teamed with Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba and U.S. Homeland Security to combat online fraud related to COVID-19.

Amazon and other online retailers have been coming under increased pressure from the U.S. government to take a more active role in preventing fraudulent and counterfeit transactions from occurring on their platforms.