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Blockchain Can Help Authenticate Ownership of Fashion Goods

Global Blockchain Technologies Corp. is partnering with Hewlett Packard Enterprise to build a storage market called Stratus.

The premise of Stratus is to allow businesses to buy and sell excess storage space less expensively than cloud storage — and if they have too much storage space, they can rent out the excess capacity. To keep data safe, it also plans to have clients encrypt the information and then “sharded” into several pieces for storage in separated facilities. That’s supposed to provide a level of security and prevent any single data host from compromising the information in storage.

And while Stratus’ focus is on storage capacity, Global Blockchain’s chief executive officer Shidan Gouran said blockchain itself is a network that can be used for multiple purposes across many industries, including fashion.

Global Blockchain is a Vancouver-based investment firm that is also a blockchain incubator. Stratus is built on the Laser Blockchain, the base of the distributed public blockchain network Ethereum.

Gouran said relying on blockchain for storage is “more secure than the current system,” and much harder to hack.

He spoke of how the system can be used in the area of e-health to store medical records. That storage would allow algorithms to be used to capture data — without disclosing personal information or other forms of identification that would violate confidentiality requirements — that could help researchers working on disease patterns for early detection, prevention, or in finding a cure.

In the case of the fashion industry, the most common use likely would be in the area of authentication.

“Handbags could be embedded with microchips that can’t be extracted out. For a $10,000 bag, the cost of 100 microchips is [essentially minimal]. The bag would be registered on the blockchain to show the chain of ownership. If it goes back to the manufacturer for cleaning or repair, it can be checked to see if it was stolen. One will know if the bag is owned by someone else. And if a bag is bought on the street with the claim of legitimate ownership, you can check the registration on the blockchain to see if it was ever transferred,” Gouran said.

Sales of goods on the secondary market can be tracked when using mobile wallets working with the blockchain network, Gouran said. But that’s also essentially the key that allows the tracking process to work. If buyers and sellers transact out of the network via a cash payment, Gouran acknowledged that the ability to maintain the tracking sequence only works when there is a continued update of the item’s registration each time it changes hands.

For now, Gouran’s firm sees storage capability such as Stratus as the next version of the Internet, with storage exchanges an improvement over both cloud-based platforms and the now “old-fashion” hardware devices.

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