The evolution of authenticated commerce

a contributed post by Garrett Blakeslee

global counterfeit goods markets“The amount of total counterfeiting globally has reached to 1.2 Trillion USD in 2017 and is bound to reach 1.82 Trillion USD by the year 2020…”

ResearchAndMarkets.com report

It's a problem

From the day we are born, we are shaped by items that we buy and sell, or that are given to us by the people in our lives. These things we create, trade and cherish are being rapidly and cheaply copied, replicated and sold. Counterfeiters proffer them as authentic goods from well-known manufacturers.
Photo credit: https://technode.com/2015/11/18/china-vows-to-increase-quality-checks-for-counterfeit-goods-online/

“Counterfeiting is now the largest criminal enterprise in the world.” —Forbes

Across multiple sectors

Counterfeited items range from Nike shoes to aerospace components to luxury watches. Some such items can be easy to make and can be extremely convincing. Materials come from all over the world and can even be parts from authentic items, used by counterfeiters to make the product seem more authentic.
Photo source: https://www.cnbc.com/2010/07/09/Top-10-Seized-Counterfeit-Goods.html?slide=7

Enforcement and punishment of counterfeiting has been increasingly difficult to combat. Such efforts are costly, time-consuming and resource-intensive. In the arms race between counterfeiters and anti-counterfeiting agencies, the counterfeiters become ever cleverer, continually finding ways to outmaneuver their pursuers.
In many cases, scammers’ only goal is to make as much money as possible before being shut down. With thousands or millions of dollars to be made, the incentives are just too great. Counterfeit items are relatively to create, and are even more easy to distribute globally.

Developing countries like China, Mexico, the Philippines, Russia and India (that have cheap production/materials) are the top sources of counterfeit items globally.

Black market counterfeiting by country

Nearly one-third (31%) of worldwide shoppers report having unwittingly bought a counterfeit product online.

Imagine a gentleman that fabricates and sells his own luxury watches. For his local customers, the authenticity of the watches he creates is proven on-site at his shop. He also makes his watches from very high-quality materials from trusted and authenticated suppliers. Over the internet, however, especially large E-commerce sites like AliExpress, eBay and Amazon, the authenticity of items are hard to prove. What measures are being taken to ensure that the item being sold is, in fact, an original and not a counterfeit?

INTRODUCING SOMA!

SOMA allows authentication of items and products in global trade. SOMA's patent-pending Heimdall Protocol is the integral key to the digital tracking of an item and all of its important information, throughout the SOMA marketplace. Heimdall is named after a Norse god that would protect the heavens from intruders and validate entry for those who are permitted. I couldn’t think of a better name to represent this piece of technology.

Whenever a new item listing is created in the SOMA marketplace, the Heimdall Protocol stores and encodes the below critical and key information, which follows the item its whole life, through the SOMA ecosystem.

From such key information, a digital representation of the item is created. This representation is termed the interactive item card (IIC) and shows a complete history of the item and its journey.

SOMA blockchain Heimdall Protocol

Information propagates along Heimdall Protocol’s distributed ledger technology on a blockchain to provide an immutable and independently verifiable record.

Once information is written to the blockchain via these transactions, it can never be changed and the data is there for anyone to see, as long as they know the transaction ID. (One can, however, append more information/data through another transaction over the blockchain.)

The Heimdall Protocol also works as a digital tracking and logistics manager for the items that are sold through the SOMA Marketplace.blockchain infographic SOMA ecommerce

How is the information submitted and how are these transactions executed? There has to be some sort of innovative way to achieve this…

Well, there is. They are called smart contracts.

These can be viewed as digital agreement between entities that are executed when a predefined variable is met. These smart contracts can be used for multiple purposes. In the SOMA environment, a smart contract is used for 3 main purposes…

It is in essence a “set it and forget it” until complete, or until it is canceled.

After a smart contract executes, new information attaches to the item. These same smart contracts can be used to create and facilitate many different types of agreements, not only limited to the buying and selling of authenticated goods.

Understanding the IIC

The interactive item card (IIC) is the passport to every item's journey. The IIC is the ideal way to visually represent an item's history, and is done so by integrating with the underlying Heimdall Protocol.

The IIC can contain any number of proofs, including but not limited to

Yanuar Gravigo design SOMA social marketplace

Graphic credit Gravigo Design

Bringing these tools together is the SOMA social marketplace.

As a society, we are slowly losing touch with our social interactions, and as innovative technology continues to be extended, so does the disconnect between the social side of trading. SOMA was created to facilitate the buys/sells of certified goods while maintaining the same aspect of social connectivity and trade that we get from places like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

The SOMA pilot program

The pilot program was created to start the on-boarding of watch companies to showcase the marketplace and its components. This program starts Q1 of 2019 and will be the spark in a series of events that will lead SOMA into a new era of innovation. Sipilän Kello, a retailer of high quality luxury watches located in Finland, is the first company to be on-boarded to the SOMA pilot program.
learn about the pilot program

Manufacturers of quality timepieces participating

luxury watch microbrands on SOMA blockchain

Diefendorff (USA), DWISS (SWISS) and SAVOT (FINNISH) are among SOMA’s portfolio of participating companies. Each of these has its own distinctive style and all focus on craftsmanship and value.

Watches from such partners will be sold through the SOMA marketplace to showcase the full benefits of the Heimdall Protocol and the IIC. That means the watches will have the same multiple sources of verification mentioned earlier. These pieces of authentication will accompany the watch’s journey through the SOMA ecosystem and through its lifecycle.

SOMA's reselling function

As discussed in the new SOMA whitepaper and the SOMA use case document, there are multiple ways for companies to cut down spending and increase distribution of their quality goods. One of the ways this is done is by utilizing the reselling functionality of the SOMA marketplace.

This feature allows others to help sell your item via other social media sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. While traditional marketing and sales approach still exist, the SOMA resell feature adds something new and FREE. The possibilities are endless with the resell feature and can be the difference between a thriving business and one that never really launches off the ground.

Imagine a global sales army devoted to promoting the products they love by connecting with other people and sellers that have similar interests. And imagine that they love your product. This is a surefire way to get more coverage in various marketplaces to diversify outreach on the products being sold. So don’t waste your hard earned money on expensive outreach firms; use SOMA instead.

Earlier we talked about smart contracts and how they are executed to facilitate transactions over the Heimdall Protocol when certain variables are met. These same smart contracts are used to activate the “SOMA resale contract.”

businesswoman-call-career-SOMA blockchain

Photo by bruce mars from Pexels

What this means is that each time an item is sold by an intermediary on behalf of the original seller, SOMA pays the reseller her commission, and deposits the remainder to the seller—all without external intervention. These payments occur automatically when the smart contract executes and the transaction is final.

This is just another excellent way that any sized business can cut down their expenses by not needing to hire additional HR for their sales teams.

Chain of ownership

The last thing that i want to speak about is something that SOMA calls “Chain Of Ownership.”

We’re familiar with chain of title: a government-endorsed proof-of-ownership and the record of any ownership transfers. Chain-of-ownership operates similarly, but improves on chain-of-title in two important ways.

  1. The legal mechanism of title applies only to specific types of property. SOMA’s chain of ownership allows any type of property to now be traced in the same way.
  2. Titles are recorded in government databases, which are notoriously outdated, difficult to search, and fragmented by locale with no unified database across the country or world. SOMA’s single distributed ledger makes any item’s chain of ownership available at any time, anywhere.

It is a very special tool to show past owners and acts as an item’s timeline.

This is a simple but huge leap in the right direction for SOMA… or any other business that wants to utilize full ownership and title of ones digital or physical property.

The world of SOMA is expanding and business applications are endless. Join the revolution and be part of the journey…

This article was contributed by Garret Blakeslee for the #WhatIsSoma competition, a crowdsourced content initiative that SOMA ran in the autumn of 2018.
about #WhatIsSoma

Getting on the SOMA platform

If you’re a watch manufacturer or retailer, contact partners@soma.co. If you’re an individual lover of quality watches, sign up here to be notified the minute we’re accepting registrations!

User waiting list: https://goo.gl/forms/xpFstBEEA4QBGrF73.

 

About SOMA

On legacy ecommerce platforms, anonymous usernames and depersonalized storefronts strip trade interactions of an important social element. Additionally, buyers lack a definitive way to ensure the authenticity of items. Enter SOMA. Our Heimdall Protocol stops forgeries and counterfeiting by validating ownership and provenance history on the blockchain. Social media elements bring personalization and interaction to trade, and allow users to monetize social influence, while a rewards system incentivizes beneficial collaboration. SOMA is a free-market ecosystem — free of market manipulation, price-fixing, gouging, and bloat.

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