Blockchain, a digital record of all activity related to a product or service, is predicted to change retail in the same way online shopping did. The technology was originally designed for digital currency like bitcoin, and because of its effectiveness, found its way into other areas of the digital world. The beauty of blockchain is that it is shared and doesn’t sit in one database for hackers to access. According to a study conducted by HSBC, 59% of consumers said they’d never heard of blockchain technology, and 80% of those who had heard of it didn’t understand what it is. Never fear—we’re going to break it down for you while we explore 4 ways consumers will benefit from Blockchain.

PRODUCT AUTHENTICATION: Counterfeit goods have plagued manufacturers and consumers alike; pharmaceutical companies lose around $200 billion/year due to counterfeit drugs, and nearly 1,400 adverse reactions related to counterfeit drugs have been reported since 2014. Blockchain’s digital ledger record creates a chain-of-custody log that tracks every step of the supply chain process. The company can then provide the consumer with a complete product history, from production line to their purchase, therefore providing certainty in its authenticity. Additionally, goods can be certified, which means that stolen merchandise can be more easily reported.

SUPPLY CHAIN VISIBILITY: Brand transparency, trust, and ethics are imperative for today’s consumers. In fact, according to one study, complete brand transparency can produce lifelong customers. Additionally, many consumers make purchasing decisions based on the environmental and social responsibility of a company. Blockchain provides a picture of the supply chain network, in real time, and allows producers to track raw materials from the moment they enter the supply chain until the finished product ships to the consumer.

PRODUCT TRANSPARENCY: A recent study shows that 54% of consumers want as much information about their products as possible,from where their meat is raised to conditions at the factory where their clothes are sewn. Blockchain allows consumers to gain the transparency they need in their purchases. Consumers can verify the entire life-cycle of a product, and companies have no way to manipulate it.

WARRANTY MANAGEMENT: Blockchain takes the hassle out of warranty management for both the consumer and manufacturer. By providing consumer goods companies with a record of every item on which a warranty has been offered, it can even predict the potential for future costs. Blockchain provides consumers with a simple way to track, maintain, transfer, and make claims on their warranties.