Whiskey and rare wine collectors are traveling long distances to source the rarest and oldest bottles, which are increasing hugely in value. Now, whiskey and rare wine aficionados can obtain these finds without leaving home, thanks to NFTs, says Dov and Sam Falic of BlockBar.
As an asset, high-end spirits lately have outperformed gold and the S&P 500 Index. In the last ten years, the number of collectors has grown by 582%. The investment itself is completely recession-proof.
There is a risk though – damaged liquid. If, for example, you purchase a bottle of rare, authentic wine or spirits, it’s possible that the bottle was improperly stored or even fake.
Improperly stored bottles could mean spoiled liquid, which would render the bottle worthless. For collectors making luxury purchases, it’s incredibly important to make sure that you are receiving the authentic liquid. And once in hand, you need to be doing everything you can to ensure it is properly stored, thereby protecting your investment.
Whiskey collector problems
Picture this: You live in Singapore, and are a collector of rare, expensive whiskey. You have finally tracked down the coveted bottle you have been searching for at a brand boutique located in John F. Kennedy airport in New York – the only boutique in the US for this brand. You call the boutique, but unfortunately, they cannot ship the bottle. They cannot accept payment unless you are physically in the store. And, they cannot otherwise reserve the bottle unless you are booked to travel through JFK airport.
So, you book a flight. You spend hours flying to New York, get the bottle, and get right back on a flight to Singapore, prize in hand. Sounds a bit far-fetched, and in today’s very digital world, outdated, no? Unfortunately, the current shipping restrictions on alcohol have made this scenario a reality for top collectors, traveling around the world to collect the bottles they have sourced but are unable to have shipped.
Scaling via e-commerce platforms has become increasingly difficult as well, as each country has completely different regulations and importation laws. Even within the US, shipping alcohol over state lines can prove more difficult than anticipated.
NFTs – A better way
Democratizing digital luxury alcohol sales is necessary, and we can tackle this problem with a modern-day solution. We use technology (specifically Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs) to verify authenticity, which allows us to operate at the epicenter of the retail, the e-commerce, and the distribution experiences.
A better way is for customers is to purchase asset-backed NFTs. The actual physical bottles are stored in a secure facility in Singapore. This facility has 24/7 temperature control, security, and motion sensors.
Customers can purchase the NFTs via credit card or Ethereum. If they want to get hold of the actual bottle, they can burn the NFT to get the bottle. Or, they can resell the item via the BlockBar.com marketplace. Customers can also give the NFT as a gift. The digital version of the bottle acts as a receipt and proof of authenticity. It is as simple as sending an email to the person you want to gift the bottle to, easily transferring proof of ownership without any associated fees.
Instead of traveling to the bottle from a million miles away, customers anywhere in the world can purchase fine wines and rare spirits from BlockBar and have them stored.
Whiskey and rare wine solution
As customers ourselves, we hadn’t found any solutions or anyone who could help us mitigate this – so we came up with our own solution. We are working directly with distilleries and utilizing NFTs as the traded item to designate proof of ownership.
Once the bottle is shipped, it cannot be re-listed for sale as BlockBar can no longer vouch for the bottle’s authenticity.
Now, collectors and connoisseurs can find, purchase, and properly store their favorite bottles, without the hassle of shipping, worries about quality assurance, or risk of counterfeiting.
About the authors:
Dov Falic is the co-founder and CEO of BlockBar, Inc. He was born in Miami and grew up in Panama City. As part of the next generation of the Falic Group, owners of the largest duty-free operation in the Western Hemisphere, Dov has been immersed in the luxury and retail industry from a young age. Prior roles included Global Spirits Director and Executive Vice President of the LATAM division. As part of that role, Dov helped oversee the development of Paneco, the largest e-commerce delivery platform in Singapore and Israel, creating one of the largest liquor distribution channels in LATAM, and running the spirits and wine purchasing for DFA.
Samuel Falic Samuel Falic, co-founder and COO of BlockBar, Inc, was born and raised in Miami. Samuel studied both finance and law. He went on to join Duty Free Americas, and his background in finance and law allowed him to pursue a variety of positions within the company. After initially working in the legal department, he transitioned into the role of Director of Business Development.