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Scotland will protect its Whisky with Blockchain tech!

Photo of: Joseph Stone
by Joseph Stone

University of Glasgow Research Centre signs an agreement with Everledger. Objective: to protect the Scottish whisky industry from the risk of counterfeiting. The bottles will be connected to the blockchain via NFC tags.
For the pharmaceutical and luxury goods industries, for example, the blockchain could provide solutions to the threat of counterfeiting. Will Scottish whisky manufacturers also benefit from this technology?

Everledger will participate in this ambition. The specialist in the traceability of valuable goods such as precious stones and metals, but also fine wines and works of art, is signing an agreement to this effect. The startup is partnering with the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre at the University of Glasgow.

The aim of this partnership is therefore to combat fraud in the whisky market, a national treasure in Scotland. In this context, the corks of the rarest bottles will incorporate anti-fraud technology.

By combining digital identification, blockchain and NFC tags, it will thus be possible to guarantee the origin of the whisky and therefore its authenticity. The cost of such protection would probably be excessive for mass products.

For luxury products, such as whiskies priced in the millions of euros, the return on investment is more obvious. Especially since fraud would be major in this sector. SUERC researchers estimate that up to 40% of the rare bottles in circulation are fake.

A 2018 study showed that out of 55 bottles of rare Scotch tested, 21 were either false or not distilled in the year indicated. To establish the year of distillation, Scottish researchers now have a method. This is based on radiocarbon dating.

To make this data available to buyers, the bottles can now be equipped with an Everledger seal. The device is completed by a connection to the company’s blockchain platform.

“Once the radiocarbon test is complete, the researchers add an NFC tamper detection label to the bottle cap and create a unique digital identity for the whisky,” says the University of Glasgow.

This makes it possible to view the bottle’s provenance and life cycle from a simple smartphone. This “helps to protect and even enhance its overall value,” the researchers say.