According to the the US Customs and Boarder Protection (CBP), the global pandemic has sparked an uptick in counterfeit protective gear as scammers exploit the coronavirus for profit. The supply chain management crypto and blockchain platform VeChain aims to curb the spread of fake face masks by teaming up with Chinese and American companies.
Hospitals across the US are reliant on large shipments from China due to a a shortage of masks and other protective gear that’s not manufactured domestically. VeChain is working hand in hand with production facilities to make sure that new KN95 masks imported from China are authentic, reports The Street.
Each box shipped from China comes with a VeChain non-fungible token (NFT) chip as well as a two-factor authentication QR code to verify the legitimacy of the product.
Real Items, a San Francisco start-up, uses a two-factor authentication QR code to record the product’s details onto the VeChain blockchain. It tracks unique data such as product ownership and place of production to ensure that the masks are legit.
Retailers and healthcare facilities can scan a QR code on the product packaging using a mobile phone camera or the WeChat app to confirm the authenticity of the KN95 masks from Real Items partner Tricol Group, one of the largest microfiber manufacturers in Asia.
The scan also reveals relevant information about the KN95 masks including time and place of production, as well as logistical points along the supply chain.
Technological advancements aside, however, the Wall Street Journal reports that new trade restrictions imposed by China have delayed shipments to the US containing millions of masks and other critical medical equipment. As hospitals and governments battle to procure the necessary gear to protect healthcare workers, American companies are reportedly working with the Chinese government to resolve issues revealed by suppliers and brokers across the supply chain.