YPB debuts MotifMicro tech in US sneaker market

YPB has booked its first revenues from its MotifMicro authentication technology, thanks to its rollout in the collectible sneaker market in the US.

The first sales come from a contract with Wireless Applications Pty Ltd (WAPL), which is deploying the technology at a network of US-based retailers to allow sneakers to be authenticated in-store.

In the first phase of the contract, YPB has supplied scanners along with serialised, anti-tamper and anti-counterfeit QR labels embedded with tracer for authentication, that give each pair of sneakers a unique, digital identity.

The MotifMicro platform, which will allow consumers to self-authenticate shoes via an app on their smartphone, called Sliip, which is due to be available in the second quarter of this year.

YPB acquired the Motif Micro technology – licensed from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and based on a proprietary covert tracer based on rare earth elements – when it bought its eponymous developer back in 2015 in a $7m deal.

The company’s chief executive, John Houston, said the revenue “represents the first monetisation of our large investment in MotifMicro and an explicit acknowledgement of [its] commercial value, relevance and appeal.”

YPB has received around 33 per cent of the first-year revenues pledged in the deal, which should have an overall value of at least $1m over five years.

The collectible sneaker market has been growing at a fast pace over the last few years, driven by resellers like StockX and GOAT, and that has attracted counterfeiters in their drives, with fake shoes featuring high in customs seizures around the world every year.

The secondary market is estimated to be worth somewhere between $300m and $1bn every year, with some sought-after shoes selling for thousands of dollars.

Resellers – including online retail giant eBay – have launched their own authentication services to try to curb the trade, relying mainly on independent third-party authentication services and tags that are applied to shoes deemed authentic.

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