NFC microchips against pirated products

CollectID success case with Atletico Mineiro

A Swiss start-up is linking the physical with the digital world to fight against counterfeit products while establishing new ways to engage customers.

Based on OECD data for 2019, trade in counterfeit and pirated goods was estimated at 2.5% of global trade, equivalent of up to USD 464 billion. Near field communication (NFC) chips have long been part of our everyday lives, enabling us to pay for things with our smartphones or cards.

More recently, they have also been helping to combat counterfeiting. Thanks to the innovative Swiss company ZATAP, sports jerseys, artworks and luxury products can benefit from this technology and are better protected. NFC microchips are embedded directly in textiles and products, combined with blockchain technology, which means that each product is unique and can be checked for authenticity at any time using the right app.

A guarantee of authenticity

Since ZATAP (previously known as collectID) was established in 2018, its idea has spread from St Gallen across Switzerland and around the world: professional Swiss football clubs such as BSC Young Boys and FC St Gallen, as well as German Bundesliga clubs VfB Stuttgart, FC Köln and Bayer Leverkusen, have equipped some of the shirts and scarves they sell to fans with its chips. And in 2021, 120,000 copies of an anniversary shirt for Brazilian club Atlético Mineiro were fitted with NFC chips. They young Swiss venture already boast an impressive customer base, including, according to its website, well-known sports partners McLaren Racing, Alpine Racing, AS Monaco and the NHL’s Nashville Predators.

Digital twin in the blockchain

Guaranteeing authenticity is not the only benefit provided by the solution. It also allows brands to enter into a completely new form of customer relationship. Each 'phygital' (a fusion of physical and digital) product has a digital twin in the blockchain. In combination with an app, exclusive offers, calls to action or special content can be made available to all owners. The result: greater customer loyalty and increased sales.

No more disappointed wine lovers

Buyers of expensive wines in particular want to be sure that their bottle is not fake. For this reason, collectID has already entered the wine industry with its second brand vinID.

The latest success story comes from the US. Comcast NBCUniversal, owner of numerous media and entertainment brands such as NBC and Sky, has included ZATAP in its 2024 SportsTech class along with nine other innovative solutions from around the globe, which is bound to give a boost to ZATAP's US activities.

Website of ZATAP