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Bitmark + Chibitronics: Protecting against hardware warranty fraud.

Bitmark + Chibitronics: Protecting against hardware warranty fraud.

Today Bitmark is pleased to announce a partnership with Chibitronics — together we are launching an anti-fraud protection system for hardware companies, built on the Bitmark blockchain.

Chibitronics will assign their Love to Code kits with labels which are linked to digital property titles, known as “bitmarks” recorded in the Bitmark blockchain. This application offers Chibitronics an automated warranty tracking system for their products, ultimately restoring security and trust to both Chibitronics and their customers.

The Backstory:

Warranty fraud is a rampant and costly epidemic for hardware and consumer electronics companies, large and small. It has been estimated that companies lose 5–10% of their product revenue to fraudulent product repairs and renewals, and even more to operational costs for customer support.

Chibitronics co-founder, bunnie huang came to Bitmark with the idea: In the same way that the Bitcoin blockchain can prevent double-spending digital currency, hardware products that are linked and viewable via the Bitmark blockchain will have a trackable provenance, thus cloning and warranty fraud are more easily detected and averted.

“Bitmark has provided us with a turn-key solution for serialization and front-line warranty support, thus streamlining our operational costs. Furthermore, the anti-fraud protection inherent in Bitmark serialization ensures that our operating margins are not eroded by external costs incurred by supporting hardware clones and fraudulent returns.”

— bunnie, Co-founder Chibitronics

How it works

Chibitronics kits will each come with a coded product label (a randomized set of words, similar to a secure passcode) which is then linked to a bitmark, recorded in the Bitmark blockchain. Each kit’s bitmark is a unique digital fingerprint that retains verified product information, and a viewable chain of ownership should the kit be passed or sold to other individuals. Ultimately, each kit has both a physical and a digital mark of authentication verifying it as a Chibitronics product.

How bitmarks are assigned

How bitmarks are used for customer support

This kind of digital warranty gives Chibitronics the following advantages for managing their products and customer support:

  • Bitmarks are permanently viewable on the Bitmark blockchain: Chibitronics’ customer support team, manufacturers, distributors, and the entire supply chain, will be able to view product information of any product codes they have issued.
  • Customer support is automated: the efficiency of reading a blockchain to verify a customer’s product code is greater than any other warranty system yet available.
  • Bitmarks are incorruptible: The tamper-evident label on each kit is linked to one, and only one bitmark. Any changes or alterations to the label or bitmark can be detected easily, and then dealt with appropriately.
  • Companies can reap the benefit of higher revenue: With this faster, more traceable, automated, secure and authenticated hardware warranty system, companies can invest in better products.
  • An automated system is better all around: Bitmarks make product ownership easily authenticated and trackable for both the company and customers (no need to keep proof-of-purchase files around!).

What this means

By enabling the Bitmark system, hardware companies large and small will be able to streamline and stabilize their customer support systems, thus opening up the possibility to invest in better products and provide greater value to their customers.

“This launch shows that our technology is getting mature enough that people outside of our company are coming to us to use it to solve their problems and pain points. This partnership reveals the multitude of ways Bitmark can help pave the way to a more trustable and free digital environment. ”

—Sean Moss-Pultz, Bitmark CEO

In the same way that we have rules about physical property, Bitmark establishes a framework of rules that authenticates digital property, by using a blockchain. Property titles lend clarity and freedom to the rules of our possessions. When clear property rules are established, you can rent, license, loan, resell, and share your belongings because your things are now part of a system of trust and reliability. Linking your hardware property to the Bitmark blockchain with an unforgeable digital title, re-establishes trust in a sector fraught with fear, misuse, and dishonesty.


More about Chibitronics

Chibitronics is a company that makes electronic stickers, which let you create, craft and code technology through arts and crafts. Co-founder, bunnie huang approached Bitmark with the idea to launch this anti-fraud protection for their products.

More about bitmarks for fraud-proof serialization

To read more specifics about the ways in which Bitmark can help companies alleviate warranty fraud issues, and help restore trust to a broken business model, read our recent blog post “Hardware companies can use Bitmark to solve warranty fraud.


If you are interested in using the Bitmark blockchain to authenticate hardware or inquire about a business partnership, we would love to hear from you. Please email support@bitmark.com.

By Bitmark Inc. on October 16, 2017.
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What consent should look like when you share your data.

What consent should look like when you share your data.

Bitmark handles consent differently than most apps: we take greater measures to empower the user to have full control over their personal data.

We’re getting ready to launch a beta of our Data Donation App that will make it easy for individuals to donate their personal data to public health studies. Initially there will be two studies from researchers at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

This article describes some of the new methods we’re using to make data sharing safe. The Bitmark app uses blockchain technology to keep the ownership of your data secure. The provenance of your data is recorded in the blockchain and then your data is transferred to the recipient using end-to-end encryption. This records clear consent via an authenticated “chain-of-title” — meaning you always know who has rights to access your data.

Most importantly the Bitmark blockchain provides a framework of standardized property rights, rules and infrastructure for your personal data — now you can own your digital data in the same ways you can own physical property.

How the Data Donation App works.

Individuals can browse public health studies and learn about how their data will be used (Women’s reproductive health; Diabetes remission and prevention; etc). A research study has a shareable URL that links directly into the Data Donation app:

Individuals that meet the eligibility requirements can tap a button to participate in the study. The App will then request permission from the participant to access their data. Each time data is shared the participant will be required to sign the transfer.

Taking a step back.

It’s worth pausing for a moment and comparing how different this process is from the other mobile apps. After the initial request to access your data, most apps don’t inform users what personal data is being collected. Accessing user data is like the Wild West. Big companies make money by tapping into the enormous amount of “free” information created by individual mobile users, bundling it together and selling it to the highest bidder.

When apps gain access in perpetuity to personal data individuals lose their freedom. Yes, it’s possible to revoke access. But that requires significant effort the user’s side. Even then, the choice is binary: grant or deny access to all requested data.

Here’s how we can do better.

The Bitmark app makes consent to transfer data an explicit action. When you join a study, you agree to donate data in regular intervals. Yet each time before your data is transferred, you will be asked to sign.

Why do we require your signature each and every time your personal data is transferred? Because we want you to be in control and know what is going on. When you donate data you are issuing a new digital property title, or “bitmark” for your data that will be recorded in the Bitmark blockchain. When you transfer that bitmark to the researcher they can access that specific data set. Your signature is your consent.

A signed transfer is recorded into the blockchain and linked to your signed issuance. This “chain of title” protects both parties, without relying on a central intermediary. (The Bitmark server cannot decrypt donor data or use it for any purpose.) Both sides get clarity as to where the data came from and who gets to use it.

Here’s a diagram of this process:

Note: At anytime during the course of a study, participants can simply choose not to donate data or withdraw from the study entirely. No further data will be collected after that point.

A new model for data consent.

We believe explicit consent through chain-of-title is how the exchange of data should happen. Not just for research, but for all personal data transfers.

In the academic world, when a study is considered to evaluate “human subjects research” it must have approval by the Institution to be conducted. This approval process protects the institution administering the studies and the participants of the research. (UC Berkeley has a great article on this http://cphs.berkeley.edu/review.html).

Bitmark believes similarly that individual internet users should be be able to safely and privately share their digital data. The Bitmark blockchain can enable a new model of consent for transferring personal data:

  1. Public keys are used to identity participants, instead of real names or even usernames.
  2. End-to-end encryption protects the data during storage and transport.
  3. No third parties can access personal data, even Bitmark.
  4. Participants consent is signed and recorded in the Bitmark blockchain every time their data is share to a researcher of their choosing.
  5. Participants can always opt-out and no further data transfers happen.


If you are interested in how blockchain technology can be used as titles (the Bitmark blockchain) versus the ever-popular use as tokens (Bitcoin and/or Ethereum blockchains), look for a blog post coming soon that explains the difference. Follow us on Twitter, @BitmarkInc, to see what else we’re thinking about.

We are thrilled to have UC Berkeley as our first partner for this blockchain application. If you are interested in participating in the Bitmark Data Donation App, either by listing your study, or incorporating this new technology into your project, please email support@bitmark.com.

By Bitmark Inc. on October 2, 2017.