Jack Dorsey’s first tweet was sold as an NFT. Could whisky be next?
TECH TALK: A Scottish company is taking whisky into the non-fungible tokens market, writes BILL MAGEE
Buying and selling of the digital version of real life objects involves non fungible tokens (NFTs) as the currency of the monied few. But the ultra-exclusive online pastime is edging that wee bit nearer to the mainstream, marketed as the “NFT collectables” digital asset ecosystem.
In reality it’s a virtual playground that especially indulges those with lots of digital coins to spend, including wealthy celebrities and investors, also affluent millennials and Gen Zers.
The practice has been described as “opaque, confusing and convoluted.” What we do know is that we’re talking astronomical sums of crypto cash in play and a world away from the current global post-Covid economic downturn.
Digital equivalents of Twitter founder Jack Dorsey’s single tweet attracted £2 million auction bids and American digital artist “Beeple” saw his creations sold at Christies for £50m. Artist PAK’s creation “Clock” raised £43m towards WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal defence.
Cryptographically-unique token bidding has been described as an elitist pursuit. Its value becomes real only because buyer and the associated “community” deem it so.
Now the online marketplace is about to be instilled with a rare dose of reality and a Scottish start-up is contributing to what might represent a digital asset step-change.
CD Corp Limited claims to be the world’s first whisky-focused NFT consultancy. It represents a move towards a more tangible, touchy-feely version of the online practice.
The Aberdeen outfit, formerly CryptoDramz, is supported by Scottish Enterprise and has gone beyond the purely aesthetic.
By utilising NFT’s practical value it is verifying provenance, identity and ownership history of collectable limited-edition whisky collections.
Digital tokens and rare Scotch whisky are matched, applying blockchain-based cryptocurrency. CD Corp says a variety of industries are welcoming its expertise. Call it an NFTs halfway house.
Attitudes do appear to be slowly changing. YouTube, for example, is contemplating adding virtual tokens to its creator platform.
The online protocol involves a digital asset accessed, validated and recorded through what’s known as “distributed ledger technology” (DLT).
Once logged it is there to stay recorded as an online blockchain. The trouble is you cannot actually get your mitts on it, as such. As one pundit put it: “Is it actually worth the paper it isn’t written on?”
NFT marketeers stress the “fungibility” of commodities, common shares and options contrasted by examples of “non-fungible” goods.
Fungible items can be easily replaced with another item practically the same such as gold, oil, precious metals, money, wood or paper currency.
You can even have a “fungible” person, one who is virtually indistinguishable from another in terms of the value of their contributions in the workplace.
NFT’s can be really anything digital, like drawings, music, artwork able to be “tokenised” creating a digital certificate of ownership to be bought or sold.
However, Christies former auctioneer Charles Allsopp says: “The idea of buying something which isn’t there is just strange.”
The bigger picture? Despite the threat of cryptocurrency crashes and other uncertainties the digital token will probably become a mainstay in the financial world, especially of the much-lauded “Metaverse” virtual world that doesn’t actually exist. Yet.
Meanwhile, we have the novel offering by CD Corp, targeting £400,000 in its first year of sales.
NFT or no NFT – the main thing is the whisky is very real. I’ll drink to that..