On February 28, Singapore-based online luxury marketplace Reebonz announced it had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with blockchain company VeChain to track the origin and supply chain of luxury items sold on its website.
Reebonz says the two companies plan to develop a "digital tag" to attach to each product sold on the platform that will track the product end to end, which will enable the company to identify knockoff items. The data regarding the provenance of luxury items will be stored on the VeChainThor blockchain platform. The hope is to provide proof of each item's origin and to trace its path through the supply chain on the blockchain's digital ledger.
Torres Oey, CTO of Reebonz, expressed his excitement about the project:
"Building trust with our customers is one of our core values. This partnership will strengthen our vision of making luxury accessible to everyone and giving the power to our shoppers in determining the authenticity of products that they have purchased."
Per a research report issued by global management consulting firm Bain & Company in November 2018, the luxury "goods and experiences" industry grew by five percent in 2018 to an estimated global value of €1.2 trillion (about $1.36 trillion). The report suggests that the personal luxury items industry alone will grow 3 to 5 percent every year until 2025 and could reach a global value of €365 billion (about $415 billion).
Addressing the growth of luxury items sold online, the reports states that in Europe the industry grew by 22 percent in 2018 and now "represents 10% of all luxury sales." In the Americas, online purchases of luxury goods grew by 44 percent in 2018.
Tracking the provenance of goods through the supply chain is a common use case for blockchain technology. In August 2018, IBM and Danish shipping company Maersk announced the creation of the TradeLens network, which tracks shipping data in real time. A few weeks later, Ant Financial announced its partnership with the government of the Chinese city of Wuchang to develop a blockchain platform that tracks the origin and quality of rice exported from the city. In October 2018, the government of Rwanda collaborated with blockchain startup Circulor to record the movement of the conflict metal tantalum as it moves through the supply chain.