Farfetch backs blockchain platform for luxury fashion


Farfetch is betting on blockchain as part of the future of luxury with the announcement of its role as a founding member of new platform, Libra Association.

It is joining forces with companies including Facebook, Andreessen Horowitz, Ebay, Spotify and Uber for the fashion-focused platform, which will launch at the beginning of 2020.

It will include a digital currency designed to ensure efficient and secure cross-border payments, as well as a focus on product authentication and transparency.

The move will see Farfetch add digital identities, such as QR codes on labels, to its inventory of 600,000 items, according to Vogue Business. It will be working with Eon, a startup from its Dream Assembly accelerator that creates digital profiles of physical products, to do so.

Farfetch CEO José Neves says he especially wants to use the technology for its resell business, which it is currently piloting under the “Second Life” header. This lets users trade designer handbags for Farfetch credit. The value of blockchain here will sit particularly in that product authenticity and provenance area – showing where an item comes from and that it is indeed real.

“Blockchain is still in its relative infancy, but we think it holds a lot of promise with regards to how it could assist the luxury fashion industry scale solutions to these consumer expectations,” Neves said. “Having data intelligence around the life cycle of a product is what really empowers the circular economy.”

Farfetch’s strategy for the blockchain platform will be developed by its new chief data officer, Kshitij Kumar.

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