Counterfeiting is not a problem of drugs and currencies alone. Computing industry is also not left untouched from it as Seagate – one of the largest makers of storage devices worldwide – also suffers from menace created by counterfeiters. However, now it seems that the company has found a solution to its woes, thanks to blockchain and cryptography.
The problem of counterfeit Seagate products being available in the market is a huge headache for the company. That is because not only there’s the risk of users buying fake Segate products but also because those fake products are eventually making their way into company’s own supply chain as well. That’s right – the counterfeit products are making their way into Seagate’s reverse supply chain (the supply chain through which returned goods are processed), thus making costing it millions, if not billions of dollar every year in revenue.
To curb this menace the company has silently been working on a two-tier plan. The first part of the plan is to make every authentic Seagate product traceable through the entire supply chain (just like Bitcoin) with help of cryptography. The company plans to make use of cryptographic signatures to track every single piece of hardware that it makes.
The other part of its plan is to put entire supply chain over a blockchain. Now, this is a herculean task, and that’s why the company has been working with IBM to perform it in a seamless manner. IBM has developed one of the best enterprise blockchain platforms, and its platform has already been deployed by many large enterprises (which explains why Seagate might have chosen it).
Currently both these companies are working on a proof-of-concept to see how this change can be implemented. This is going to complete by the end of this year, and if successful, the process will start to implement this change across the entire supply chain of Seagate.
Speaking to Forbes Magazine about this planned change Mr. Manuel Offenberg, Managing Technologist of Seagate, said:
“We found a unique way of tying the physical product to the virtual world, through the blockchain. We think that’s where some of the novelty is, where we really can go from a physical product to the virtual blockchain world.”
Besides finance supply chain is the second major area of business that is being impacted significantly by the blockchain technology. It will be interesting to see how this experiment of the company goes.