Next month will see the launch of awakened wine, the first trading platform dedicated to fine wine NFTs. But what does this mean for drinks? While some NFTs correspond to intangible things (like Jack Dorsey’s first tweet), a drinks NFT corresponds to a physical bottle. The NFT is created by the company that makes the product and kept on the cryptocurrency blockchain (which functions as a paper trail of transactions) so that no matter how many times the product changes hands, its authenticity is guaranteed.
The world’s first NFT marketplace for collectible beverages was block bar, launching in late 2021. Unlike a traditional auction house, which sources from various distributors and collectors, BlockBar sources directly from the brand owner. Many products also come with some kind of limited edition feature – a unique edition number, an unusual format, a work of art. The bottles are stored in a high security warehouse in Singapore. If a user decides to redeem or “burn” their NFT, BlockBar will deliver the bottle to their doorstep. Once the NFT is exchanged, it is no longer accessible.
Big names who have previously collaborated on “drops” with BlockBar include Hennessy, The Dalmore, Dictador, Ardbeg and Penfolds. Some are a little sticky for my taste – but what do I know? More than three-quarters of BlockBar’s 200,000 users are between the ages of 25 and 34, and its first release, 15 bottles of 46-year-old Glenfiddich for $18,000 each, sold out in four seconds.
The Dalmore, 33, about $8,800
Domaine du Comte Liger-Belair Echezeaux Grand Cru
Wokenwine, on the other hand, hopes to appeal to more traditional fine wine drinkers. It is an NFT trading platform just like BlockBar, except that, for the moment, it does not make limited editions. Instead, the focus is on the reassurance offered by NFT trading. Suddenly, the prestigious Burgundy Domain of Count Liger-Belair has already announced its intention to sell its entire 2020 vintage via the platform. “We must restore integrity to traceability and fight against counterfeits,” said Louis-Michel Liger-Belair.
I know of at least two other major luxury drink players, including a major auction house, who are working behind the scenes on NFT projects. But there are still plenty of people who remain undecided whether NFTs are the future or a flash in the pan: “I’ve been collecting/investing in rare whiskey for 34 years… The NFT hype could be right, or wrong , or indifferent. . I haven’t decided yet,” says Andy Simpson, co-founder of leading analyst and whiskey broker Rare Whiskey 101.
Bidding my time – let’s see who else comes aboard.