This interview is part of our new Blockchain In Retail series, where we interview the world's leading thought leaders on the front lines of the intersections between blockchain and retail.
In this interview we speak with Chris Heinze, CEO of Authoreon, to understand how his company is using blockchain to transform the retail business, and what the future of the industry holds.
1. What’s the story behind Authoreon? Why and how did you begin?
CH: Authoreon was founded in March 2017 with the goal of decentralizing Authorization, Authentication, Verification & Certification for Consumers, Corporations, Governments & Organizations. With counterfeits, cyber-attacks, password breaches, identity theft and document fraud on the rise, it becomes obvious that the current online safety measures are not enough. Furthermore, increased quality awareness calls for a traceable product identity and history in retail, as well as in the supply and ownership chain. The failure to secure data, to verify identity and to grant access only to authorized instances is causing billions of dollars in damage each year, while the most valuable asset at risk is trust. Authoreon is solving these problems by decentralizing authorization, authentication, verification and certification. After completing a successful token sale in 2017, 2018 was dedicated to product development. The plan for 2019 is to release our products at regular intervals to maximize traction.
2. Please describe your use case and how Authoreon uses blockchain:
CH: Authoreon enables a holistic self-managed identity and an all over traceability of products through the supply, retail and ownership chain, and it aims to prevent counterfeits, fraud, cyber-attacks, material and immaterial identity theft. This is accomplished through the A-ID, the world's first machine-readable optical label on the blockchain. Consumer will be using our optical scan technology to verify original products against counterfeits in e.g. the luxury-, pharma- and car-parts-sectors. Every material such as leather, textiles, plastic, wood or even metal has a unique surface structure – just like a fingerprint. With Authoreon, consumers can authenticate genuine luxury products against counterfeits, and it helps brands to track down counterfeit producers and retailers – without the need of expensive RFID/NFC chips. To complement the verification of original products we believe it is important to enable consumers to also verify the authentication of a retailer by allowing the brands to selectively authorize their respective retailers. The retailer would display his A-ID in his (online or offline) shop and the consumer can scan for which brands the retailer was verified. Additionally, the A-ID will help to improve supply chains.
3. Could you share a specific customer/user that benefits from what you offer? What has your service done for them?
CH: We're currently running several private pilots, e.g. a luxury watch manufacturer already lets its customers verify the originality of their latest product line via our A-ID.
4. What other blockchain retail use cases are you excited about?
CH: We're mostly excited about our very own vision, as we envision Authoreon to be the first and only company to offer a holistic solution when it comes to Authorization, Authentication, Verification and Certification of products and players in retail – from the supply chains through retail to ownership chains. Brands, Retailers and Consumers will see an increase in safety and efficiency, a decrease of damages through fraud and counterfeits, and thus broad product price reductions.
5. Where will Authoreon be in 5 years?
CH: Within the next 5 years, Authoreon plans to be at the forefront of verification in retail. Every consumer will use at least one of Authoreon use cases; be it to verify the originality of car-parts, luxury items or pharmaceuticals, or to track where product components or ingredients are coming from, or to verify producers certificates, or to verify if a particular retailer is actually authorized to sell products of a certain brand.