WaBi is the most recent Internet of Things (IoT) success story, its mission being to solve the counterfeiting problems that blight supply chains across Asia and the world.
The WaBi ICO sold out 46 million coins at $0.25 each last year, and with its current price, investors are looking at almost 2,000% gains. However, more importantly WaBi is aiming to fix big real-world problems.
The counterfeiting market
In 2013, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) conducted a study titled “Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods.” It estimated that $461 billion worth of fake products are in circulation globally, with most of these products originating in China.
This piracy runs the gamut of supply chains, hitting luxury items, machinery parts, food products, and medicines, among others.
Up until this point, it has been very difficult to ascertain legitimacy claims. This has created enormous demand for validation processes because people are willing to put a premium on the assurance of product genuineness.
This is especially true where the health of infants or elderly people is concerned, the danger lying in negligent application and the purchase of fake foods or medicines.
The problem has metastasized to the extent where a company called Inscatech was launched to audit foods for legitimacy. Inscatech came into being largely because of the scandal that erupted in 2008, when 54,000 babies in China were hospitalized due to baby milk formulas being contaminated with melamine.
This is one of the problems that WaBi hopes to eliminate through RFID tags attached to products and scanned through mobile phones to prove legitimacy.
WaBi is not alone in using this technology. In fact, the concept has become a subset of the blockchain space.
The Internet of Things
The IoT is perhaps the fastest-growing segment or use-case scenario for blockchain technologies at present. Other than WaBi, significant projects in the space include IOTA, Walton, and VeChain.
IoT describes the concept of connecting the physical and the digital worlds. Physical objects are tagged, or monitored via the blockchain through the use of sensors, to streamline and automate many low-skill tasks.
WaBi wants to attach an RFID tag at the point of origin of the supply chain. This links the product and its digital representation on the blockchain. By monitoring the product from the origin point to the consumer, WaBi can be certain it is genuine and as advertised.
Many IoT projects focus on B2B solutions, but WaBi has chosen to concentrate on the B2C segment.
How does the WaBi tag work?
The WaBi RFID tag is flexible enough to attach to most products and robust enough to withstand the rigors of the supply chain.
If the tag is removed or altered, the product is deemed illegitimate by the blockchain.
The tags are non-reusable and can be scanned with a mobile phone at the point of purchase.
Has WaBi gone from concept to prototype?
WaBi has a working prototype and has trialed sales on JD.com, a Chinese e-commerce website with 370 million monthly users. Customers were willing to pay a 20% premium on the price for the assurance of safety.
What’s next for WaBi
Walimai, the parent company of WaBi, was formed in September 2013 for the sole purpose of combating the spread of counterfeit goods. This is a good sign as it points to a clear objective. The co-founder and CEO of WaBi is an ex-McKinsey consultant with expertise in baby food and formulas.
It is very early days, but if other IoT companies are any guide, WaBi should be looking at a bright future provided that they can sustain the momentum.
WaBi can be bought on Binance and EtherDelta exchanges, and at the time of writing, is trading around $4.57. Since WaBi is an ER20 token, you can store it in your MyEtherWallet address.