Blockchain Revolution for Luxury Industry – Counterfeit Exposed

The day is not far when you’ll be able to simply take out your phone and check whether the product you have on hand is genuine or not.

Cointelegraph got a chance to speak with Jérôme Grillères, CEO of VeChain, at BlockShow Asia 2017[1] about his vision of the luxury market.

Jérôme worked at Barclays and Goldman Sachs for more than 12 years. With the help of his experience and the team at VeChain, he wants people to identify counterfeit products just by using an app on their phones.

CT: Please tell us how you got involved in the world of cryptocurrencies.

JG: I started my career in the IT industry, then moved to finance and after a few years I met someone who was passionate about Blockchain[2] and its potentials who introduced me to cryptocurrency. In those days, I was in finance and the idea of digital currency fascinated me. Since then, I’ve not looked back.

CT: Do you want to distract the fans of luxury lifestyle?

JG: No, I want to make it even better than what it is right now.

CT: All right. So, how?

JG: From a customer viewpoint, what I want to bring to you is a very easy way to check whether a product you have in hand is genuine or not, to fight against counterfeit, but not only that. Once you have the product, you want to know that’s not fake. Then I want to allow the brand that you’re interested in to share more behind-the-scenes stories about the product with you. So they can share where the product was made, how the product was designed, the concept behind it, who the designer is and more. You’ll also be able to know what fabric was used, how the fabric was selected based on desirable features and the process it went through to become the luxury product you see.

CT: Could you give an example? Let’s choose some luxury goods. How does it work?

JG: As a customer, you would walk into a store and you see a very nice bag that you’re interested in. Let’s say a leather bag – you’ve dreamed about it for a long time and you found it here.

CT: Dreams come true!

JG: First, you want to make sure this is an authentic bag, so you take your cell phone, you start either a VeChain application or the luxury brand application and you scan the bag. The application will tell you automatically if it is real or not. As easily as that. Then the application may display a video of the designer, an interview with the designer explaining why you should select a bag like this. You may find out that the bag you like is a limited edition, so you want to know why it is a limited edition. In the app, you get all the features of this edition and other information about the bag.

CT: The legend and story behind.

JG: Absolutely. After that, you just say okay, I can’t resist anymore and you just buy the bag. After buying it, you ask the seller to transfer the ownership to you. They show you a QR-code, for instance, on their phone, you flash it with the app and now for everybody in the Blockchain know that this bag, which is number six of the limited edition, only 100 pieces in the world, belongs to Maria.

CT: That’s how Blockchain…

JG: That’s how Blockchain works.

CT: So for sure it’s mine.

JG: For sure, it’s yours.

CT: Everybody knows?

JG: Let’s say, one day you cannot find it anymore. You feel like that’s the end of the world! You go to the app and say, “Somebody stole my bag!” and that gets written on the Blockchain. If someone ever finds the bag and scans your bag, they will see: okay, this bag belongs to Maria and she declared it lost, so that person could connect the police and help you recover your bag.

Or if fortunately, the bag was not very far away – it was in the back of the closet and you later found it, you can just scan the bag again and say, “Ok, I’ve found it. It was only lost for a couple of hours. All good.” All this is recorded in the Blockchain.

Blockchain path

CT: You said you got involved just six months ago. What do you think you did right and what wrong in this Blockchain industry.

JG: VeChain started about two or three years ago. What we did right is simply providing some cool, easy-to-use technology to guarantee that the goods are authentic. It’s something that did not exist before. Not only did we provide it, the Blockchain ensures that It’s very easy to access.

What did we do wrong? So far, we don’t have an example of something that went wrong, but we’re working with luxury brands and that demands carefulness, so we are always trying to improve ourselves.

CT: What is an ICO that you wish existed but it does not actually?

JG: What I would like to see is in the field of loyalty programs, for instance. It’d be very interesting to see an ICO that would provide some loyalty coins for brands, like instead of giving me miles that I can only spend on flights or some goodies, maybe some tokens that I can use to purchase a hotel room, as well as maybe some entertainment. Maybe a little bit more integrity across the industries, like global loyalty program that would be a coin. That would be quite interesting to see.

Highlights from the event

CT: How does BlockShow stand as a conference compared to other events that you have attended?

JG: I think BlockShow is quite impressive assessing by the number of people that are attending. We had a huge traffic at our booth. We have a wide variety of profiles of people. We met investors, other startups with bright ideas we can do business with. We also met some potential clients. I think what is very impressive is that you can really access variety of profiles in a very short time. That has been very helpful for us. The conference gave us the opportunity to showcase our technology. Blockshow has really given us a boost with the speech and that’s a great opportunity. The organizers managed to bring a lot of interesting people to the venue.

CT: Any highlights you would like to mention? Who is your favorite speaker?

JG: Besides myself? Kidding. That was a humorous part. I very much enjoyed watching the panel discussion about Blockchain and the token economy. I found a lot of insightful comments. It was very interesting because they were putting forward some of the things we were discussing for the luxury industry. Those guys are on top of things. They know what they were talking about and it was quite reassuring to see that we are all on the same page.