Every year, as much as $100 million in counterfeit sneakers is seized by U.S. customs alone. And that’s just scratching the surface: Worldwide, counterfeit fashion is estimated to be a $600 billion industry, and if U.S. customs figures are accurate, about 40% of all counterfeit goods are sneakers. That makes counterfeit kicks a $240 billion problem to sneaker makers like Nike, Adidas, Converse, and more.
So if you’re a small brand like Brooklyn-born Greats, and you’ve convinced NFL superstar Marshawn Lynch to endorse a pair of your sneakers, how do you prevent the $149 design from being counterfeited? You embrace technology popularized by Bitcoin to create 3-D printed smart tags that can track any pair of the new Greats x Beastmode 2.0 Royale Chukkah sneakers back to the factory—and which are impossible to fake.
Anti-counterfeiting technology in the fashion world has traditionally relied on two things. First, manufacturing process: The more complicated it is to manufacture something, the harder it is for counterfeiters to duplicate that process cost effectively. But material science also plays a factor. Take Nike’s Flyknit shoes. The result of four