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Traceable Luxury: What to Know About Aura Blockchain Consortium’s New Saas Solution

A luxury-focused blockchain is out with a brand-new service for high-end brands.

The Aura Blockchain Consortium, the collective co-founded by LVMH, Prada Group, Richemont’s Cartier and Diesel parent OTB Group, rolled out the new Aura SaaS cloud-based software-as-a-service solution for its member brands. OTB Group joined the consortium in October last year with status as a founding member.

The consortium currently has more than 15 million digital tokens on its private, permission-based blockchain platform offering both upstream and downstream traceability in the direct-to-consumer supply chain.

The launch of Microsoft Azure-hosted Aura SaaS encourages the luxury industry to embrace the blockchain in their day-to-day business operations, from the supply chain and customer service to marketing, manufacturing, sustainability, purchasing, logistics, and legal.

What’s more, the solution comes as more luxury brands seek to better understand the materials within their products as they fight rampant counterfeiting. In December, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted 13,586 counterfeit designer products arriving in a containerized cargo shipment from China. The officers discovered handbags, tote bags, shoulder bags, crossbody bags, backpacks, shirts and pants bearing numerous registered and recorded trademarks such as Gucci, Chanel, Fendi, YSL and Louis Vuitton.

The Aura blockchain technology works by matching a product ID to a client ID, and providing the infrastructure, through a chain of secure, non-reproducible, digital blocks, that enables consumers to access the product’s history and proof-of-authenticity at every step of the value chain, from raw materials to the point of sale. The private blockchain will securely record information and generate a unique certificate that keeps a record of every transaction. It even keeps track of product interventions such as maintenance or repairs.

Aura SaaS is designed to easily onboard member brands, allowing for both upstream and downstream traceability in the supply chain for consumers. Bulgari, Cartier, Hublot, Louis Vuitton, Hennessy and Prada are already active on the platform.

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The no-code solution offers lower upfront costs, as Aura SaaS users benefit from lower license and onboarding fees. The launch of Aura SaaS aims to make Aura more accessible to luxury brands across the globe while strengthening the industry’s response to challenges such as responsible sourcing. This comes as blockchain‘s  typically high cost often prohibits many smaller brands and retailers from adopting the technology.

With Aura SaaS, brands can access the Aura blockchain directly through APIs and connect them to their own IT systems and applications. The functionalities enable brands to use a smart contract generator and register products on the blockchain. They also offer product-related events and rich content management, allowing brands to detail a product’s history. Users can transfer or acquire product ownership.

On top of the blockchain functionalities and APIs it offers, Aura SaaS will offer various white-label front-end interfaces and web pages to write, read and display information from the Aura blockchain—this will be fully customized to align with the user experience of each brand, requiring no technical or blockchain expertise. These webpages are directly accessible by luxury clients.

Given that the blockchain is still a nascent concept, Aura SaaS aims to help luxury brands address authenticity, ownership, warranty, transparency and traceability, targeting both upstream use cases such as raw material sourcing and downstream use cases. The downstream use cases might include digital certificates of ownership and authenticity certified on the Aura blockchain, e-warranty and transfer of ownership.

“Our ecosystem is growing on a daily basis and Aura’s solution covers the entire lifecycle of luxury production and consumption,” Daniela Ott, secretary general of Aura Blockchain Consortium, said in a statement. “Aura SaaS provides a game-changing toolbox for the luxury industry with an easy onboarding, minimum costs and without the need to manage any cloud infrastructure and deploying any instance, thus reducing the time-to-market to launch new blockchain use cases. This solution is meant to last and benefit the whole value chain. Given its accessible pricing, it is a solution suitable for luxury brands of any size, for most product categories within the luxury sphere.”

Alongside the Aura SaaS solution, the Aura Blockchain Consortium is also developing a suite of turnkey tools to accelerate route to market, with smaller brands in mind. These would include front-end tools helping luxury consumers visualize data on the blockchain.

For example, brands could offer more transparency into their sustainability credentials by enabling consumers to view the provenance of materials used in the manufacturing process. Such a solution may be attractive to brands that haven’t implemented their own advanced front-end but want to offer customers more insights and interactions.

The project was formerly known as Aura Light, according to press releases in the months prior to the official Aura SaaS launch. If prior plans are still in play, the consortium could develop an NFT solution for luxury brands using the platform.

The Aura Blockchain Consortium is a non-profit organization created with the vision that collaboration can coexist within a competitive environment, driven by common objectives for the greater good. The collective partnered in November with Bain & Company to craft onboarding plans and develop strategies for member luxury brands.

The Consortium develops standards and provides tools to enhance transparency and trust through sustainable blockchain solutions and related technologies. Founded by luxury brands, Aura strives to make these technologies easily accessible to all luxury brands irrespective of size and location. Through its activities focused on leveraging blockchain technology throughout the manufacturing and supply chain process, Aura aims to promote innovation and authenticity within the luxury sector.