Amazon, the king of the e-commerce and shipping sectors, has patented a distributed accounting system (DLT) to demonstrate the authenticity of consumer goods. Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office approved a "Distributed ledger certification" of the Seattle tech giant, after nearly three years from the time it was filed. The patent describes a use of DLT aimed at creating "digital trust from the first mile of an article's supply chain" to the last.
Amazon's criticisms and suggestions for the global supply chain
The Amazon system collects data from distributors, manufacturers and shippers on an "open framework" that traces a line of origin of the product through information packets. These data could be well packaged and become easily accessible to the consumer, as shown in the patent drawings.
In a brief that appeared unusually philosophical for a patent filing, Amazon mocked the "proliferation" of "systems and databases that often lack transparency, consistency, referential integrity or security" - all potential factors affecting the trust of customers and Investors. These patchwork technologies don't even understand the global supply chain, Amazon wrote.
The e-commerce giant is growing significantly within the global distribution chain: its couriers delivered 3,5 billion parcels last year, 46% of the total. Nobody like Amazon has the pulse of the current situation in the distribution chain.
Against these existing technology shortcomings, Amazon said that distributed systems offer a convincing solution. In addition, DLT could protect the data from being tampered with, remove single points of failure and avoid centralized authority management problems such as bottlenecks, he stressed.
In the patent, Amazon stated that Hyperledger could be one of the forms of DLT used. A patent application does not necessarily indicate that whoever submits it is using that same technology.
Earn customer trust
"Trust is earned," wrote Amazon, whose giant electronic market is full of counterfeit products, according to the United States government. "Once trust is lost, it can often be difficult to regain it."
Last year, Amazon launched an initiative to detect counterfeit products called "Project Zero" which attempts to intercept fake products. Amazon officials told the Wall Street Journal in 2018 that the company would spend billions of dollars on fighting fakes.
U.S. lawmakers are currently keeping their distance from Amazon's counterfeit product problem. The buying public is definitely more confident.
Nearly 39% of respondents in a Morning Consult survey said they trusted Amazon "a lot". Only the U.S. postal service, which distributes 30% of Amazon's parcels, scored higher.