One of my favorite films on wine is the documentary Sour Grapes. A story of fraud and scandal in the world of wine and wine auctions. Of a man who passed fake wines off as authentic to some of the wealthiest collectors in the world.
What can collectors and auction houses do to combat these frauds? One answer is Blockchain Technology.
At its basic level, Blockchain is a ledger. Blockchain records data, which is immutable because each block is connected to the block before it. To change the data in the Blockchain would require the entire chain to be changed.
Adding to that. Blockchains are decentralized, the data is spread out across the internet and not stored in any central place. Making hacking or attacks harder than standard databases.
So how does this help winemakers and sellers fight fraud? Say, you have a Sonoma Valley Winery that has produced twenty bottles of Pinot Noir 2015. Before shipping, the winery’s accounting person logs the number of bottles or crates shipped on their Blockchain of choice.
The stores or auction houses that are to receive the bottles can view this data. Where the shipment came from and if they choose can record who purchased a bottle.
So how does the figure back into Sour Grapes?
An auction house can check the Blockchain to verify the data on the shipment. So when a third party comes in and they want to sale a bottle of Sonoma Valley Pinot Noir 2015. The auction house can check the Blockchain, see if this person purchased a bottle or if a twenty-first bottle was made.
Now the question comes up, why bother? Why this when a phone call or email could suffice?
The auction house can be sure that the bottles of twenty they received are the only real bottles of Pinot Noir 2015. Consider the auctions Rudy Kurniawan supplied with fake wines, netted over ten million dollars.
The added benefit and security of Blockchain Technology should not be overlooked.
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