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Case Study: Exotic and Classic Cars

Examination of using a LaserMinter for laser engraving phygital passports onto painted and bare metal surfaces for exotics and classic cars.

The authenticity, provenance, list of modifications, accident / repair history, and service history are all major contributing factors when valuing ANY car for sale - let alone when valuing a very expensive, collectible exotic car or classic vintage car. One of the most important issues in evaluating the market value of a collectible car is to ensure that both the chassis and the engine are original to the manufacturer, and that the original engine block for that specific chassis has not been replaced. If a car has been in a major accident and then repaired, or the original engine has blown up and had to be replaced, this can dramatically reduce the potential resale valuation to buyers and collectors. Furthermore, the more service history and provenance information that is available to the buyer, the greater the value and potential resale price.

It is currently possible to check an assigned engine number with a chassis number via a search of the manufacturers database or the local governments vehicle registration organization. However this can become a challenging, time-consuming and lengthy process. There exists no simple fast way for an interested buyer to independently confirm the authenticity of both the car chassis and engine block when initially examining the car. Moreover, sale and service history documents are often an incomplete collection of paper documents kept in the glove compartment. There exists no easily transferable online database for uploading service history documents, bill of sales or independent valuations for each individual car.

Consequently, both the exotic and classic car industries are in desperate need of a new digital provenance technology that allows every potential customer to easily verify their cars chassis and engine authenticity, track provenance and valuation history, and upload mechanical service documents to a connected cloud storage account for that item. In other words an online digital library for every unique car to prove its chain of custody and manufacturer authenticity. The exotic and vintage automotive industries are in need of Phygital Passport technology.

Decentryk has analyzed this car industry problem of how best to digitize automotive documentation and ensure component authenticity without search for chassis and engine numbers with manufacturers or vehicle registration organizations. Two different authenticity and provenance solutions have been developed for cars using Phygital Passport technology and LaserMinters, namely:

  1. 3FA authentication with engraving the same QR code onto both the engine block and car chassis using the LaserMinter IR.

  2. 4FA authentication with engraving 2 different QR codes onto the engine block and car chassis using the LaserMinter IR.

(1) 3FA authentication with engraving the same QR code onto both the engine block and chassis using LaserMinter IR (Basic, Pro and Plus).

The simplest phygital passport minting solution is to use Decentryk's standard 3FA setup option and engrave the same physical QR code twice - once on the engine block and once on the car chassis. The seller may choose to show confirmation to the buyer by scanning and verifying either one or both QR code marks depending on the confidence of the potential buyer. Note there are many places on both the engine block and chassis surface to mark the QR code on. However it may be desirable to make the chassis mark in a relatively non-visible place such as in the front of the drivers seat door well.

Regardless of QR code location, the LaserMinter IR can mark effectively on both the painted chassis surface and the bare metal surface of the engine block. Furthermore, while it is possible to hold the LaserMinter IR in your hand and laser engrave at the correct distance using the marking guard, it is nearly impossible to hold the laser device absolutely steady for the 30-second period a laser mark can take to apply. Hence for laser-marking cars it may be essential to source a strong, stable mount with rotatable arm so that the laser head that can be positioned at the desired position and angle. Decentryk is currently working with several exotic car vendors to develop a suitable flexible car mount accessory for automotive applications. Alternatively, the engine block part and chassis component can be removed by a mechanic, the mark then applied in the standard desktop configuration, and then the component refitted to the car.

It is important to note that while adding significantly to the anti-counterfeit protection level of the vehicle, there is a potential weakness in this 3FA solution for the dedicated swindler who replaces the original engine but wants to falsely demonstrate to buyers that it is the original. It is possible to photograph and copy the physical QR code on the chassis, and then reproduce the identical code on the replacement engine block. Below are videos and images of a LaserMinter IR applying the same laser engraved QR code to (1a) a a painted metal surface of a car chassis component, and (1b) a bare metal surface typical of an engine chassis:

(1a) Painted Car Chassis

(1b) Bare Metal Engine Block

(2) 4FA authentication with engraving 2 different QR codes onto the engine block and chassis using LaserMinter IR (Basic, Pro and Plus).

To solve the potential weakness of the 3FA solution, the LaserMinter software has an additional "ultra-security" option that has been developed for engraving 2 different physical QR codes onto the engine and chassis of an exotic car. Minting a Phygital Passport onto both the chassis and the engine block (using 2 physical QR codes and 2 digital QR codes) is the ultimate 4FA anti-counterfeit solution for the exotic and luxury car manufacturers. Having a different QR code for the painted chassis surface to the QR code engraved on the engine block ensures 100% that the engine was manufactured for that specific chassis, with both needing to be scanned together to ensure total product authenticity. There is no way a potential counterfeit engine can verified, as there is no way to know the 2nd QR code on the original engine required for 4FA verification.

The chassis and engine are authenticated via the Phygital App using the 4FA SCAN - SCAN - HASH - VERIFY protocol option. Note that only the creator of the passport or the legal owner of the car can scan both physical QR codes and then hash them both with the NFT linked digital QR code to generate the final phygital QR code required to verify the product on the 3FA Library (which in this case is equivalent to a 4FA Library but stored the same information). Although this solution might be overkill for many car manufacturers and collectors, if a product is worth millions of dollars - it might be worth the extra effort to ensure its total component authenticity.

Note: the use of the Ferrari logo in the videos and images above is simply for instructional purposes only to demonstrate a typical use case with inclusion of the manufacturers brand logo in the laser mark area. It does not imply or indicate any business relationship between Decentryk and Ferrari, nor does it confirm any legal permission given by Ferrari to Decentryk to use their logo on instructional or marketing videos. The Ferrari logo used is from publicly available royalty free stock images.



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