The Digital Evolution of the Collecting Sector by@tomorrowland

The Digital Evolution of the Collecting Sector

William Campbell HackerNoon profile picture

William Campbell

I'm curious about everything innovation. And I talk about it. Trying to anticipate Tomorrowland.

Collecting is part of human nature. Since the times of Roman generals who exhibited the trophies collected during the war campaigns in their homes.

But what drives the human being to collect an object?

In some cases is passion, in other cases the desire to own a precious piece that certifies a high social status.

These are all motivations related to the world of emotions, those that can lead a collector to pay for an object many times more than its physical value. Giving value to that emotion and the sense of exclusivity that would follow.

This logic, for example, explains how a card of the well-known card game Magic The Gathering was recently sold for an incredible $ 166,000.

But collecting, normally printed on paper, is facing a period of great change, mainly as a result of two phenomena:

  • Counterfeiting: forgery techniques are now very advanced and it becomes really difficult to recognize a fake object from an authentic one. According to an OECD report, this phenomenon will increase by 50% by 2022, reaching $ 990 billion and causing huge losses for producers and collectors. Because without a guarantee of authenticity it is not possible to certify the real scarcity and exclusivity of a collectible. That is the elements that define its value.
  • Digitization of life: physical are increasingly being abandoned in an increasing number of sectors. Payment methods, video games, films or transport tickets, everything is completely digitized. Without the need for a credit card, DVD or paper ticket. 90% of the music is now played in streaming. Millennials' lives are in constant motion and physical objects are a hindrance when traveling.

Driven by these forces, the world of collecting has been heading towards total digitization for some years.

Few people in the world don't remember the Pokemon Go phenomenon that has developed over the past few years. The possibility of capturing cute little animals, using an app based on Google maps and geolocation. For the first time since its launch in 2016, the app surpassed $ 1 billion in revenue in 2020.

Competitors did not stand by, in particular Panini, which launched, in January 2020, a digital version of his famous sports stickers. To ensure greater security, digital cards are also registered on the Ethereum Blockchain.

This brings us back to the Cryptokitties phenomenon born at the end of 2017. One of the first experiments of digital collectibles based on Blockchain technology, which in a few weeks went around the world leading to the generation of more than 300,000 colored kittens and to a significant slowdown of the Ethereum Blockchain network. To the point that it was necessary to intervene, introducing costs for the generation of a "child cat" born of two "parent cats".

To date, the Cryptokitties phenomenon seems to have faded, bringing to light a hot topic that the new sector will have to deal with. If in physical collecting a person could be happy with inserting a sports card within an album and the game was over, with digital collecting the expectations are much higher.

Because the digital world is the playground where everyone today has fun and participates in augmented, social, interactive experiences etc. etc.

A digital collectible is obliged to offer an effective gaming experience in order to be successful. And this is where the Cryptokitties project seems to have stalled over time.

Even the numerous clones born over the years seem not to have found a solution to this problem.

There are currently two projects on the market that seem to be playing this game of collectible gamification better.

I am referring to the Sorare project, born from a Parisian startup, which has recently received a $ 4 million round of financing.

The digital collectible proposed by this project is based on the sale of digital stickers related to the world of football.

We are talking about a sector that has been moving a lot of money for decades, just think of videogames dedicated to this sport.

For this reason, if the Sorare guys can find a game element linked to their collectibles, and football offers many possibilities, we may have found one of the first successful projects in the world of digital collecting. At the moment, however, we are witnessing a potential, we will see if it will be fully expressed or not.

Another project that has attracted attention is Bitmonds, launched by the Italian startup Vanilla Rocket. Also in this case we are talking about a blockchain-based digital collectible, EOS to be precise, but which offers a different type of gamification element. Wearability, in a new concept of Digital Fashion.

Bitmonds are interactive, unique and numbered 3D digital diamonds, which can be used as a watchface on smartwatches. In this case, playing the game of the exclusive element of a collectible.

Considering the amount of physical smartphone covers that have been produced in recent years, this new concept of digital smartwatch cover could represent an interesting key to the success of the project. The future will give an answer to this hypothesis.

The road to the transition from physical to digital collecting has undoubtedly begun and proves to be interesting to observe for those interested in the world of digital innovation.

William Campbell HackerNoon profile picture
by William Campbell @tomorrowland.I'm curious about everything innovation. And I talk about it. Trying to anticipate Tomorrowland.
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