Blockchain-based supply chain traceability solutions provider SUKU has released a new application for sneaker collectors and resellers that allows them to verify the authenticity of a shoe.

Unlike existing tagging solutions on the market, which are frequently removed after purchase, SUKU says the patent-pending Infinite discrete NFC tag is designed to remain concealed inside the toe of the sneaker throughout the lifecycle of the product. The tag functions as a physical-to-digital bridge for the product, linking it to the blockchain-based digital title. This enables a range of features, such as secure ownership transfers, authenticity record lookup, and reporting lost/stolen products.

The secondary sneaker market is highly active with a growing network of resellers. According to Forbes, it isn't uncommon to see the going market rate for certain pairs of highly-coveted sneakers rise 600% from already expensive retail prices, SUKU says.

Unfortunately, the high margins also attract a booming counterfeit sneaker industry, valued at over US$450bn, the firm says. In fact, some sources estimate that the fake sneaker market could be larger than the market for real sneakers. Because sneakers are not serialised, both resellers and collectors are faced with uncertainty when buying shoes.

Infinite reduces authentication costs and creates a new source of revenue for authenticators, who can receive kickback fees on future ownership transfers for providing the original verification service.

SUKU says Infinite expands the purpose of a tag beyond one-time-use to full lifecycle provenance – or the ability to record the history of ownership, including transfers, of the shoe. The authenticity and ownership data is then stored on the blockchain, making it secure, transparent, and unhackable.

This allows Infinite, for the first time, to create a serialised title for each shoe. Every time the shoe changes hands through a sale, its provenance data remains intact and up-to-date.