Verified Collection, a tech startup based in Los Angeles, CA is building a connected world where consumers have True Digital Ownership of the physical and digital goods they collect. In my last article, I wrote about why games were poised to change blockchain forever but today, we are looking at a startup focused on unlocking a $200 billion dollar collectibles market using elements of blockchain technology without the barriers found in blockchain companies today.
The promise for blockchain and gaming to drive everyday consumers into this nascent market has caused startup entrepreneurs like Dil-Dominé J. Leonares, Founder and CEO of Verified Collection to think about creative workarounds solving the harsh reality of blockchain’s non-user friendly sign-up process. He sat down with me to explain how they plan to drive mass-consumer adoption without having the need to worry about complicated account creation workflows that hinder current blockchains.
But how does Verified Collection (VC) drive consumer adoption through blockchain technology?
Leonares insisted that Blockchain is here to stay but as with any major operating system, there are updates along the way that help you improve functionality and usability of the platform. Although, blockchain in its current form provides a proven trustless system that can exchange data between two individuals the problem lies in the microtransactions. We saw it with CryptoKitties on the Ethereum blockchain and when you get so many transactions trying to get a consensus approved on this global ledger you start to realize the limitation in blockchain technology.
“We can utilize elements of blockchain that are great while improving upon the user experience whether its on-boarding an individual or actually using this technology on a day to day basis. With the current system in place, it’s as if we’re trying to shove a square peg in a round hole when it comes to consumer applications. Instead of starting with technology, we should focus on the idea and find technology that fits it”, Leonares explained.
It's no wonder that luminaries such as Nolan K. Bushnell, Creator of Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's have decided to advise on the Verified Collection project
"I've always been a passionate advocate of the future, determined to find things that will be powerful and important in years to come. There are many projects taking hold in the decentralized technology space and I've chosen to advise Dil-Dominé and the team whom I believe will have a large impact on the future”, Bushnell told me.
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Using Quantum DHT technology, similar to what BitTorrent uses, VC claim that they can create a global consensus but sign off on the transactions locally creating a decentralized peer-to-peer network while building out light and robust distributed applications. This removes the whole energy pollution caused by mining and it solves the concern over transactions per seconds while keeping the positive traits about blockchain.
Another aspect that was touched upon was the fact that there are currently no SEC or CFTC regulations for running a KYC/AML test.
“Verified Collection is a social marketplace and platform that operates by selling digital collectible goods. Just like how Epic Games uses V-Bucks to allow consumers to buy in-game skins and avatars, we allow consumers to acquire our in-platform Vyce token to purchase our digital collectibles. Vyce will never be placed on an exchange, therefore, there will never be any speculation or volatility of the in-platform token used to purchase these digital collectibles”.
Leonares further added that people will still be required to sign-up for accounts on their platform just like you would need to create an Epic Games account before you could play Fortnite.
“Who knows in the future when regulations become more concrete we might consider it but until then we will operate just like any digital platform does with in-game currency. We are also exploring partnerships with stable coins pegged to the US dollar as well”, he said.
Dil-Domine’ explained that curating collections is an innate human behavior and he is in the know on this, having been a collector for a major part of his life, from matchbox cars, action figures, POGs, quarters, stamps then moving into vinyl toys like KidRobot, Disney’s Vinylmation and most recently Funko Pops.
“Aside from that, I am also an avid gamer as well and what inspired me was watching Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One since how you can go from one world to the next. I think we all would picture how the avatars we buy in maybe Fortnite could be utilized to trade for another skin in a game like Destiny. We might not be there today but in the future, that is definitely a possibility”.
Leonares spent tonnes of money on buying into what he describes as a centralized ecosystem where there is no true digital ownership over the physical and digital goods that he collected. He insists that this is where Verified Collection comes in when you buy the first edition of a comic book and you don’t want to open it to read it. VC lets you unlock a digital copy of the comic book to read and take with you where you want to go. Who knows, maybe in the process it unlocks a skin or avatar in your favorite video game because you have the digital collectible in your collection? Imagine celebrities or known-figures creating digital collectibles and possibly being able to unlock their favorite playlist or cartoon character in video games.
“One of my collections was buying every single special edition XBOX 360 that was released and one time while traveling around the world, I had moved to the People’s Republic of China for a year. When I brought back all my XBOX 360s to the United States the guys at customs were perplexed with how many I had…” Dil-Dominé J Leonares, Founder and CEO of Verified Collection stated
But what exactly does Leonares mean by True Digital Ownership?
Digital collectibles also are known as non-fungible tokens (NFT) in the blockchain community are unique and all have a smart contract assigned to them which can house data.
“This is what excites me about our offering at Verified Collection is that even though our focus initially is solely on digital collectibles, we can now provide our 3-step TAG™ (Trusted And Guaranteed) quantum fingerprint to authenticate both physical and digital assets on what we call the Nexus”, Leonares explained.
Leonares provided the example of DeBeer’s utilizing their TAG™ to track diamonds from the mine to consumer purchase and then after that as a title-tracking system showing it moves from one person to another. This can be beneficial to the nonprofit world which can use their digital collectibles platform to drive engagement with the ever-elusive millennial market and provide new ways to drive giving while rewarding the consumer for their participation; ie Tom Shoes.
Another example is how brands can extend their IP into this space while building out a deeper relationship utilizing digital collectibles as a way for them to engage with the consumer where for the first time a brand could tell when the first engagement took place and when the consumer decided to transaction afterward with the digital collectible to unlock bonus content or interactive experiences.
So imagine a beverage brand like Coca-Cola releasing limited-edition digital collectibles that are seasonal and with each collectible you unlock by watching an advertisement; your name is amended to that smart contract. So if you were to walk into a convenience store you could possibly trade that collectibles or multiples of that collectibles for a digital coupon for a 2-liter bottle of Coke or if you goto a Coke-sponsored event you can trade your collectibles for a “Share your bottle with... (insert your name)” because of your name attached to the title of that digital collectible.
That’s the beauty of digital collectibles and it shows how it can be unlocked in a different way more than just having an augmented reality object you view in your phone but also be used as a certificate of authenticity that helps keep physical assets values high.
At the end of the day, what do you want people to take away from this about Verified Collection?
“I believe at the end of the day, blockchain has driven and inspired individuals like me to think outside of the box showing the possibilities to tokenize the world”.
The idea of creating a decentralized ecosystem some that are autonomous like Aragon and some like Verified Collection that helps provide this authentication and ability to truly decide what you want to do with the physical/digital goods you collect.
“That’s the beauty of the blockchain is it showed us what a trustless ecosystem could look like and now we just have to make that ecosystem more user-friendly”.
Leonares said that their goal is to build a world where the consumer has True Digital Ownership of the physical and digital goods they collect; “we want to bridge the gap between the physical world and the digital one making it as seamless and secure as possible. If we can start by showing value in such a focused market as collectibles then we can bring those learnings into other industries as well like high-end consumer goods”, he concluded.