City Research Online

IN BLOCKCHAIN WE TRUST? The examination of an anti-counterfeiting solution

Lall, M. M. IN BLOCKCHAIN WE TRUST? The examination of an anti-counterfeiting solution. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


Product Counterfeiting is deemed a major and pertinent threat to the global luxury sector. The entanglement of luxury and counterfeiting has evolved into a complex problem for the modern milieu. This aim of exploring this topic as social phenomena seeks to expose the shadow economy of counterfeiting, unpack issues of intellectual property and the threat posed through the integration and adoption of blockchain technology as an anticounterfeiting solution and high trust system of exchange.

Luxury counterfeited brands offers a perspective which considers the complexities surrounding fashion consumption, the globalisation of brands, brand culture, and the connotations of luxury today, including its place in the criminological sphere. Academics call for studies pertaining to the under explored area of counterfeited luxury goods owing to a rise in the grey and copycat markets further catalysed by recent market demand for second-hand luxury goods (Wall and Large, 2010; Wang et al., 2020). The consumption of such goods not only pilfers innovation and affects industry but is entwined with a mirrored underworld of counterfeit production and consumption which has given rise to more sinister activities with linkages to organized crime, modern slavery, and terrorist activities.

Against this backdrop, this research will seek to achieve the following research aims:

A. Examine product counterfeiting of luxury goods as a social phenomenon
a. Critically examine the socio-economic, historical, and cultural implications of counterfeiting.
b. How are issues of copyright and trademark infringement impacting counterfeiters?

B. Examine Blockchain as an anti-counterfeiting solution and its enhancement of supply chain management.
a. Can Blockchain-based supply chains enable transparency and product traceability?
i. Can the integration of a blockchain solve issues of provenance?
ii. What is the value of blockchain-enabled services?
iii. Identify threats to adoption and regulation of blockchain technologies in the UK.
b. Can Blockchain enable a high-trust ecosystem?
i. Does block-tech ensure accountability and create trust?
ii. Examine the proposition that non-fungible tokens can create unprecedented models of ownership allowing for product circularity.

The study seeks to unveil the shadow industry of counterfeiting’s impact and to assess blockchain technologies merit as an anti-counterfeiting solution via an examination of issues existing in luxury goods supply chains. Thomas’ (2019) description of fractured supply chains and the utilisation of sub-contracting via offshore producers are central to establishing a case for enterprise blockchain-based solutions to combat counterfeiting and to create transparent supply chains. To achieve the above-mentioned aims, this literature review will highlight the impact of product counterfeiting through the provision of an ontological examination of counterfeiting with a particular focus on luxury goods. The penultimate section offers a sociological examination of the luxury goods industry, anticounterfeiting measures and addresses inherent issues overlooked in studies regarding counterfeiting of luxury and their interrelationship. The final section of the literary review will provide a theoretical examination of blockchain technology (block-tech) within an epistemological framework to assess block-tech capability to enhance supply chains to foster transparent and traceable chains, and, in doing so ameliorate the effects and risks of counterfeiting within the global luxury goods industry.

As this research is exploratory in nature, it will undertake a qualitative methodological approach, investigated through elite interviews and ethnographic data collection. The study will address this surge in the demand for counterfeit luxury goods and its accumulation into a trillion-dollar generating industry, as a social and criminological phenomenon. The researcher will examine issues pertaining to, and solutions of traceability, authentication, and supply chain provenance. In fulfilling the research objectives, it is imperative to identify current anti-counterfeiting strategies’ effectiveness through a critical and comparative examination, with a focus on the distributed ledger technology (DLT) known as Blockchain. Henceforth, blockchain will be referenced throughout as ‘block-tech’ and otherwise ‘the technology’ or ‘blockchain technology’, or on its own ‘blockchain’. Initial findings reveal the emergence of conscious consumers, a rise in re-commerce of luxury goods and a shift toward circularity within a microcosm of the industry.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Departments: Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
City, University of London (-2022) > School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
School of Arts & Social Sciences > Sociology
[thumbnail of Lall Thesis 2023 PDF-A.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
Download (1MB) | Preview


Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login