Since lockdown began, I've done more online shopping than ever before.  I suspect I'm not alone in that.

While I've been very satisfied with most of my purchases, there are a few that have left me disappointed.

One of the problems is that often we have no idea of the provenance of the products we buy online and whether or not they'll be of decent quality.

In recent months there's been a significant rise in the number of patent applications relating to solving this problem.

One approach is the use of blockchain technology (more commonly known in cryptocurrency) together with unique microscopic electronic ID tags embedded in every single product in the supply chain.

In this way, suppliers, retailers (both on and offline) and - ultimately - consumers, can have confidence that what actually reaches the recipient is what's expected.

This has major advantages not only in the battle against counterfeits, but also for giving consumers confidence that they'll receive exactly what they expect, and not a lower quality alternative.