11 June 2020
The blockchain is a very powerful tool. One might think there's a daily discussion about the impact it might have. And there's a reason to think that, too. Everyday people discuss some new uses of the blockchain in different industries. From the most complex uses to the most superfluous. From improving supply chains to video games. From providing a better healthcare system to copyright management. From improving electoral systems to corporate payrolls.
Blockchain is almost all around. Even when one might think that there is no new industry for the blockchain to explore - surprises do arise.
This has been the case for collectible registered in the blockchain. Once you have thought about it, it all makes sense for these two to come together.
Collectibles are rare items. Due to their rarity, they are often more expensive than they were at the time of their initial sale. Their rarity gives them an extra feature that adds to their price: popularity.
A lot of people collect these rarities. Some because they are fans of what they collect. Others do so expecting that these items will increase in price over the years.
Yet, things with collectibles are not as simple as they seem. We talk about collectibles in poor condition sold as mint. We also talk about cheap imitations and fake authentication certificates. And there are even more complicated issues like verifying where the item comes from.
Now someone might ask how the blockchain solves this problem. The truth is – the blockchain can solve most of these problems. Still, people might ask how, and the answer is simple: its unmodifiable record.
Blockchain: Problem Solver for Collectors
Let's imagine a simple scenario: you want to buy a special edition of a Beatles LP. The seller claims that there are only 15 units of this edition. Yet, it has no authentication certificate. Buying it and paying a specialist to verify that it really is a bet. Are you willing to take that bet? Let's imagine once again you do. Surprise! The specialist tells you it is fake – sorry, but you lost your money.
The blockchain could have helped to avoid this rather grim situation. Yet, this time it is different: this LP is registered in the Blockchain with all its relevant data. You know how, when, and who did it. You would also know how many owners it had, when they bought it, when they sold it, and the price of each operation. All the data and all the owners would confirm that the LP you want so bad is real.
Now, how would you buy it? Easy: the owner sets a price and conditions in a smart contract. Once you execute the contract, the shipment or delivery is arranged. The best part? As soon as you execute the contract, it will be on the record that this precious LP is yours.
Multi-purpose blockchain for collectibles
In the beginning, the first to try this technology was the gaming industry. CryptoKitties was one of the first platforms to get involved with this idea. The game in which you buy, sell, and trade 'cats' on the Ethereum blockchain took the market by surprise in 2017.
Since then, thousands of different and more sophisticated proposals have come out.
Crypto Space Commander took control of the space, literally speaking. Not only is it an excellent video game, but it also has a very innovative market. There, video game spaceships are sold for different prices depending on their rarity.
Dapper Labs, CryptoKitties' creators, did not rest easy with only digital kittens. They signed a contract for NBA crypto-collectibles. This project called NBA Top Shot is not available to the public yet. Still, it is one of the most promising projects in the space.
Yet, blockchain collectibles are not exclusive to the gaming industry. Lazio and Juventus, two of Italy's biggest football teams, also took the initiative.
Both Lazio and Juventus teamed up with Sorare, a fantasy football game, to create special collectible editions of the team and its players. With a unique card, 10 super-rares, and 100 rares per player, their prices depend on their rarity. Likewise, the prices on the platform are set on Ethereum (ETH).
As well as these proposals verify collectibles in the blockchain, many more exist as well. For example, the blockchain can be used to tokenize art or real estate. Even The Austrian Post Service launched its special editions of crypto stamps. The blockchain, if well used, can put an end to the counterfeiting of such special items.