The Aura Blockchain Consortium: Decoding The First Global Luxury Blockchain
As fashion faces multiple roadblocks, especially with transitioning into the digital sphere, unlikely partners Prada and Cartier, part of Richemont, and LVMH decided to join forces as the Aura Consortium, to create the world’s first global luxury blockchain, the Aura Blockchain. Unveiled on the 20th of April, 2021, the unprecedented collaboration between the competitors seeks to provide consumers with a high level of transparency and traceability throughout the life cycle of a product.
To put it simply – the blockchain essentially matches a product ID to a client ID, to give consumers access to the history of the product, proof of its authenticity, at every step of the value chain – from raw materials, to point of sale, and more. For instance, if you were to buy a Hublot watch, Hublot would attach an e-warranty via visual recognition of each piece’s microstructure, stored in the Aura blockchain. If stolen, the e-warranty can reflect the status to prevent resale.
And with a larger conversation growing around sustainability, brands have also started endorsing and participating in rental and resale, which relies on the authentication of products - therefore the blockchain would definitely help remove all doubts. And that’s not all – if you thought the NFT boom was over, think again, because the creation of this kind of a blockchain also encourages the brands’ experimentation with digital clothes, and of course, NFTs. However, it doesn’t seem like these luxury brands are there just yet; in a statement, Cartier’s global innovation director, Timothy Iwata Durie, was stated as saying,
Timothy Iwata Durie, Global Innovation Director - Cartier
This also isn’t the first time the world of fashion has colluded with the blockchain world. Fashion blockchain startups, such as Lukso and Arianee, operate public, decentralised blockchains and open-source protocols, meaning that anyone can join and customers can see every “event” in a product’s life cycle.
Arianee’s public blockchain and open-source solution, means the code is published, and people can contribute and build on it, with brands able to build their own interfaces. The Paris-based firm provides digital passports to luxury goods, and focuses less on supply chain information and more on engaging the customer after a sale, which increases transparency and is the best way to build trust.
Aura’s network has raised eyebrows since it’s considered to be a private, closed-off, in-house technology that no one really has access to – however, the brands associated with it are quick to disband any conversations about them being the gatekeepers of luxury blockchain, and multiple brands are welcome to join their consortium.
As more luxury brands consider their blockchain strategies, questions arise around how different networks may intersect. In the meantime, Aura welcomes others to join. Cartier’s Durie says it’s also open to individual brands, and brands that are outside of just fashion.
“The more we will be, the better it will be for our industry,” said the brand in a press release. It remains to be seen whether other luxury brands will jump on the bandwagon, since this is still a relatively new concept – but when giants like LVMH and Prada are on board, a few others are definitely bound to follow their lead.