Of all the remarkable developments that have been achieved in the last 10 years in technology, the blockchain ranks highly, along with AI and Machine Learning. The blockchain enables a multitude of activities to be conducted and authenticated, without the need for a middle man. This kind of proposition brings use cases across a huge range of sectors that are safe, secure and tamper proof. But not only that, within the blockchain realm, developers are seeking to improve the way we do things, to solve problems that we did not know we had. These include turning the financial system on its head with DeFi, to bestow ownership of a whole new genre of art and media through NFTs, and to tokenize any physical asset to allow data and value to be transferred, stored, and validated in a way that is as efficient as it is secure.
So what is tokenization?
When a security or an asset is tokenized, it literally becomes a line of code. From here, much like Bitcoin it is forever stored on the blockchain. The holder of the token is the owner of the asset (physical or non physical) that sits behind it. Tokens can represent art, as in the case of NFTs, they can represent a mortgage, or even a commodity like wine.
One unique blockchain startup, WiV Technology, is building innovative technology that enables wine to be represented in the digital landscape. WiV creates tokenized versions of real world assets enabling integration between these assets and the fast growing DeFi space.
With a background in wine and finance the founders felt that tokenizing wine as an investment asset, was the perfect vehicle to prove the WiV value proposition.
We spoke to Tommy Jensen, CEO of WiV to understand why you would tokenize wine
“The wine industry is in need of transparency, authenticity, liquidity, and transactional efficiencies; on top of this there are small margins on wine sales because of all the layers of middlemen sucking up value in the industry. Most wineries find it hard to take the next step and launch a global brand, and they have inability to sell online, plus there is a distinct lack of trust when transacting in the industry, with potential fraud issues rife, all of which WiV is fixing through its industry pegged token $WIVA and many other innovative product offerings.”
A unique idea to tokenize wine, so what led you to create WiV?
“I started investing in Wine around 15 years ago and have moved slowly into the business and found very quickly they lacked some key elements like security, verification and marketplace. My background is tech, originally a developer then realising I was really bad at it. So have been behind 5-6 startups that have all done various exits to players like Verisign, Tucows and Atea. And have been fortunate enough to work with some great talents in Mobile, Entertainment and Finance. Wine seemed to be the natural move for me, and with my admiration of the virtues of the blockchain, it seemed an entirely natural fit”
How can the blockchain disrupt the wine industry?
“The blockchain has the ability to entirely change the way physical items are represented. NFTs (non fungible tokens) are unique digital assets that are impossible to counterfeit. Using NFT technology we can completely eliminate counterfeit and protect provenance within the wine industry. Additionally, posting everything on the blockchain creates a transparent alternative to the opaque systems that are currently in place. This transparency can make supply chains more efficient and provide consumers with an understanding of the source of their wine. Another benefit is the integration of DEFI technology which has the ability to provide liquidity and loans to producers and collectors, utilizing wine as an asset like never before.”
Can tokenization of wine mitigate its inherent risks as an industry?
“The short answer is yes. The current challenges the fine-wine industry is facing can be mitigated or resolved entirely through tokenization. How? The key problems we identify are lack of liquidity, fraud and accessibility. By connecting the physical and digital you can have an immutable register of wine, tokenization itself means that the good can be traded as a token which again opens up both accessibility and increases the liquidity by offering the assets globally rather than with a geographical constraint packed with logistical costs.”
What other benefits does tokenizing wine have?
“Maintaining the asset quality – fine-wine should preferably lay idle until consumption. With tokenization of the asset, you can trade a token that represents ownership of the wine, without having to immediately transport the wine. As a side effect the wine will stay in one place. For example in WiV’s centralized storage.“
What else is in your pipeline?
“We have a busy few years ahead, with our NFT Collection sub DAO for wine investment. We are also setting up a decentralized wine fund, a blockchain based game based around wine education, a public private partnership together with the Georgian Government which will position itself as a Wine DAO and Consortium as well as the first decentralized winery.”
The Bottom Line
There are many other physical assets in addition to wine that have the attributes needed to be tokenized. Wine may be considered a perfect asset use case for tokenization, but you can foresee a world where almost every physical collectible or asset is represented in some way in the digital world, negating the challenges of storage, shipping, time to market and more, while enabling the wineries or other manufacturers to raise funds by releasing their own tokens until their products are ready.