Entrupy takes its AI-based counterfeit-spotting technology to Asia; sets up operations in Japan
Entrupy, a New York-based start-up with artificial intelligence-driven technology for authenticating luxury goods, has announced the expansion of its global operations to Japan. The company is now positioned to combat the distribution of counterfeit high-value goods in the country, reportedly among the largest luxury resale markets.
The new location also provides Entrupy with a vantage point in the Asia-Pacific region, with its large regional hubs known for counterfeit manufacturing.
Entrupy claims that its technology, that utilizes a hand-held scanner and an accompanying software application, has a 98% accuracy rate for spotting fakes. While its application extends beyond fashion into categories like auto parts and mobile phones, its technology is currently used by major resellers and professional buyers of luxury goods to authenticate handbags and accessories from several luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Hermès.
Counterfeit designer goods are big business — and one that's still growing. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the European Union’s Intellectual Property Office say the annual value of counterfeit goods is as much as $500 billion.
Luxury goods are especially targeted for their high profit margins. Opaque supply chains and the nature of online transactions have worsened matters — Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba has often been accused of enabling the counterfeit industry.
In the U.S. consignment site The RealReal has recently been plagued with reports of fakes appearing on their site. The company has said that it processes between 250,000 and 300,000 items this month — large volumes of goods that require authentication.
Traditionally, auction sites like eBay have a network of industry experts for verification — professional authenticators eBay partners with. Over time, it has been forced to expand its anti-counterfeit measures through programs such as eBay Authenticate to also include technology-driven detection tools that go beyond the guesswork.
That's where Entrupy's founders hope their technology comes in.
For manufacturers of these luxury goods, the financial and brand impact of imitation goods is very real.
Last year, the possibilities of Blockchain, bitcoin’s underlying technology, to fight counterfeiting exploded after a growing number of blockchain platforms started to market the technology to manufacturers.
With the technology, all manufactured goods could be serialized with a number applied at the production stage. Each recorded serial number will then track authenticity at each stage of production through to final sale, even including information like the name of the craftsperson. Once recorded, the data cannot be deleted or tampered with.
Raketa, a Russian brand of watches, recently became one of the first companies to register production of its goods in the Blockchain with provider Emercoin. Stan Polosov, the COO of Emercoin’s Blockchain Engine, has called the technology "bulletproof".
While luxury brands like Chanel and Moncler have been experimenting with technologies such as embedded serialized holograms in their apparel and accessories, Blockchain — as an independently verified and unalterable transaction record documented through the supply chain and possibly through multiple ownerships — could have far-reaching impact.
Consumers of genuine luxury items wouldn’t be displeased, either.
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