Even as the total number and value of counterfeit goods seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection dropped last year, categories like footwear actually grew.
In 2020, the U.S. seized $63 million of counterfeit footwear, up significantly over the prior year’s $38 million, though still below 2018’s $78 million. The total number of footwear seizures also increased, though at a slower rate, from 3,249 in 2019 to 3,460 last year.
The product authentication technology provider announced it was expanding beta testing of its Entrupy Sneaker Authentication app Tuesday. Small- and medium-sized organizations that buy or sell frequently counterfeited sneaker styles—including Nike Air Jordan 1s, Adidas Yeezys and Gucci footwear—are eligible to participate and receive no-cost use of the technology for the remainder of the year, at minimum. Interested parties must simply buy or sell more than 10 pairs per month. The service will include authenticity certificates and Entrupy’s financial guarantee for sneakers.
“The fast-growth and high-profits of sneaker resale, especially combined with fragmented and distant digital sales channels, are significant means and motive for bad actors. As both the quantity and quality of their fakes keep increasing, it can be hard for even the most knowledgeable authenticator to have complete certainty that a pair of sneakers is legit. Entrupy augments their existing expertise, giving authenticators the ability to ‘see’ things that might otherwise escape notice so they can know that, 100 percent, that item is authentic,” Vidyuth Srinivasan, co-founder and CEO of Entrupy, said in a statement.
Entrupy first dove into sneaker verification in February 2020 with Legit Check Tech. Aimed exclusively at large marketplaces and businesses, LCT takes the form of a physical box that scans the footwear. Though the new Entrupy Sneaker Authentication service relies on the same technology pioneered with this hardware-enabled solution, the app will stand alone.
In addition to verifying authenticity, it offers product fingerprinting and registration for every item scanned, “making them fool-proof from swapping,” the company said. The “immutable” identifier relies on characteristics “invisible to the human eye” and unique to each shoe, allowing the exact identity of a given item to be reconfirmed by a new scan and verification against Entrupy’s records.
The Entrupy Sneaker Authentication app is expected to fully launch next year. Additionally, the company said it is working on building API integration for third-party marketplaces. This tool would allow marketplaces to act as a “conduit” between sellers and buyers to guarantee authenticity without physically possessing and inspecting items—increasing buyer confidence and speeding shipping times.
“A few years ago, no one was talking about the ‘circular economy,’” Srinivasan added. “Today, it’s high on the list of ways we can continue enjoying fashion at the same time we take care of the planet. Ensuring the circular economy continues its healthy pace of growth requires that we foster trust and confidence in secondary markets, which means bolstering our ability to detect counterfeits and remove them from circulation. The more confidence and trust people have in the products they buy, the more those products—and the overall market—can reach [their] full potential.”