The Lawrence National Centre is pleased to present the inaugural Research Spotlight Series article entitled Disruptive Solutions to Disruptive Challenges: Fighting counterfeit using blockchain technology.’ The LNC developed the brief by drawing on the research work of Ivey Faculty member and Scotiabank Digital Banking Lab supporter, Professor Hubert Pun.
The production and sale of counterfeit products around the world are causing disruptions in many industries. Current solutions to combat counterfeit, such as manufacturing processes and RFID tags, have been largely ineffective and industries and governments around the world are looking at blockchain as an alternative solution. This report explores the issue of counterfeit, the effectiveness of current strategies versus blockchain solutions, and the role of government in creating policies conducive to blockchain adoption. It features pioneering research by Ivey’s Professor Hubert Pun, who has published academic articles and practitioner cases on the topic. Manufacturers are considering blockchain technology adoption due to the economic, supply chain transparency and brand reputation benefits it provides. However, the cost of implementing blockchain and the associated privacy concerns can lead to suboptimal adoption of blockchain in fighting counterfeit. Thus, robust privacy laws and subsidies can be valuable to encourage blockchain adoption by firms and manufacturers. While Canada has been a leader in developing many new technologies, it is behind its peers in blockchain solutions for industries, raising the call for developing policy and strategy in exploring and implementing such solutions. In particular, this report highlights the need for a broader legal framework, developed swiftly, thoughtfully and collaboratively between industry and government to build a strong foundation of consumer trust and confidence.