The blockchain is so much more than just Bitcoin, Elon’s tweets and meme tokens. It has capacities that we haven’t even explored yet. One major milestone in blockchain technology is the ability to tokenize pretty much anything, to give transactions and deals a completely trustless front. Everything from art to commodities can be tokenized.
Much like the evolution of fine art trading in the NFT space, in this case it works by turning collectible wine into tradable NFTs. Collectible wine is considered an effective alternative investment in a bear market, giving investors a way to diversify their portfolios and weather any storm. However, now investors don’t need to worry about the transport, logistics or very specific storage conditions of collecting and storing wine, as instead they can hold a token which matches a bottle or crate of wine, and which guarantees authentication of their wine collection.
The digitization of wine marks a complete overhaul of the way things have previously been done, much in the same way as DeFI or Decentralized Finance proposes a new method of banking, which is more effective than the one we currently use. The benefits of using the blockchain for wine collection are varied and include making wine collections tradable on the blockchain, anonymous and requiring no trust on the part of the dealer or collector. Plus, if a grower has one bad season, and can’t deliver the wine, this is not such a big problem as would normally be the case, as the token holds the grower to account for the future delivery of the wine. One company is using the blockchain to support both large and small operations and at the same time helping wineries to evolve and grow their business in a new digital world.
WiV, based in Norway, is the first of its kind, taking wine onto the blockchain much in the same way as art has gone on to the blockchain by way of NFTs. So, we talked to Tommy Jensen, CEO at WiV, to learn more about this new ecosystem for wine collectors and vineyards.
WiV as an example of a platform that is tokenizing physical assets is in the business of making the global wine industry more transparent, transactional, and secure. In the crypto space, there is a lack of diversified, stable assets with underlying value. Wine is the perfect diversification investment as it offers highly competitive returns, stable underlying value, and a liquid secondary market.
Why Tokenize Wine?
By tokenizing the wine industry, “we believe providing crypto investors an alternative investment, a safe haven so to say, for their portfolio will be valuable and attractive to hedge against the current high volatility in the industry.
The WiV business has three different business lines with differing focuses. “Overall we plan to provide services for wine producers, NFT collectors, wine collectors, and anyone who is interested in investing into an alternative asset class. At WiV we will be working with our community to group-fund producers and offer them loans to provide them with consistent cash flow throughout the year.”
The Benefits of The Blockchain for Physical Assets
So why does a project like this one whet the appetites of all the players involved in the wine industry? WiV are unequivocal about the benefits a project like theirs can bring. “We source the best wines from around the world, from the rarest and most unique wineries to the bluechip world-renowned vintages. We spend time learning about their backstory and what makes them so special, and we build this into every NFT we create. Our collectors and the vineyards connect through the art we produce. Each vineyard is related to a history unique to the creators. Each winemaker is an artist in their own right. Each wine we distribute tells a story. Each collector not only buys a fantastic case or bottle of wine, represented by a rare NFT, but they become a part of the future community of wine and can connect on a different level with their favorite wineries.”
When you tokenize physical products like wine, tokens back the fine wines being sold through the various protocols, and thus in this case, ownership of the wine, turns into an NFT. “The physical wines are professionally stored in secure locations. By minimizing the wine’s physical movement, we help ensure that it is maintained in peak condition for you.”
And not only that, but clients will be allocated a membership into a tiered wine club where they will be offered discounts and unique access to the wine industry.”
Does This Model Work?
WiV has certainly been busy, collecting awards, milestones and even funding, showing that there is a real desire to be part of this movement. “ Yes, we are proud of what we have accomplished so far. Our major moments include, in July 2018 being awarded The EU Horizon 2020 ‘Seal Of Excellence’. In March 2019 we forged a mutually beneficial partnership with EY . Then in August 2019, we were granted approval from the Web3 Foundation . In January 2020 we went on to launch on the OpenSea Marketplace. January 2020 marked a real first for us and the industry as we took part in the world’s first transaction of wine futures on the blockchain Apart from these, we were also listed on Koda Dot Marketplace, Arkane Marketplace, we launched on Polygon and we also raised a hefty $1.5 million in fresh capital to further accelerate the development of our platform. You can certainly say it has been a busy time for us.”
Over the last three years, WiV has developed the foundations and built an infrastructure to provide wine producers with secure funding for their products and allow them to compete on a level playing field. Alongside this, Investors will be able to trade wine easily, quickly, and cheaply across the WIV platform and enjoy the benefits of investing in a stable market offering consistent returns.
As this platform and other similar platforms mature and the network grows, other similar verticals can be adopted. WiV for instance, are developing a range of portfolios, including NFT wine indexes, Fractional ownerships, NFT wine exchange-traded funds (ETFs), and more.
And like a good wine, the more this particular niche ages, seemingly the more layers, depth and notes it will develop. Projects like these mark a real moment for the tokenization of physical items and collectibles.