Norberto Rossi, founding partner of Vanilla Rocket Srl, talks about the new trend of digital collecting and the Bitmonds project.
Can you explain more about this new sector?
Collecting is part of human nature. We all want to belong to a tribe, to a group of peers, in which we try to standout with objects or perks. For this reason, the collectibles market has been one of the most prosperous for decades, reaching an estimated 370B$ Market Cap. We’ve seen playing cards go for up to $ 160,000 and the law of demand exponentially exceeds the physical value of collectibles.
This happens because the “desire” to own something unique comes into play. Currently, though, the counterfeiting risk is very high and this is bringing the large producers of collectibles printed on paper to move towards a digital format.
This shifts helps to speak the language of digital natives, to create interactive experiences, and above all to guarantee the authenticity, rarity and ownership of a collectible. Registering digital collectibles on the blockchain allows you to achieve these goals, in a way that is not feasible with physical collecting.
It is a fast growing trend, just think of the success of Pokemon or the amounts that gamers spend to dress their own virtual character in an exclusive way. In this environment, Bitmonds project is a truly unique proposal.
Can you explain better what Bitmonds are?
They are collectibles that, instead of being printed on paper or plastic, are virtual, with all the advantages already described.
Visually they appear as 3D colored diamonds, with which a user can interact on smartphone or smartwatch. Bitmonds go beyond the simple limited edition concept, because each one is inherently unique, thanks to a unique and progressive number ID, a specific color, a name that represents its soul and characteristics of purity, necessary to digitize the concept of rarity present in physical collecting.
Giving a Bitmonds allows you to give something really certified as unique and not replicable. Everyone’s ownership is written on the Ethereum Blockchain to offer greater security.
Bitmonds are organized in limited numbered collections and each collector can decide whether to generate a new Bitmonds from the current collection, or to search for a piece belonging to a collection from the past.
The desire to complete a collection or to own a precious piece animates the exchanges between collectors and it increases the value of Bitmonds, as it happens for physical collectibles. What we offer more then any other digital collectible project is the ability to wear your unique collectible on your smartwatch. This way you can always carry them with you and show everyone the most precious pieces of your collection, without the risk of theft.
The concept of Digital Fashion is interesting. How does it work?
Thanks to our app you can choose the Bitmonds you want to wear every day on your smartwatch, combining it with your outfit, as you do for a tie or a phone cover. We are rewriting the concept of fashion by bringing it effectively closer to the digital world without the risk of forgery.
Each Bitmonds has a color and a name that can represent the wearer or the mood of that moment. It is a modern way to tell your passions or how you feel that day. It is a digital accessory that completes your outfit and at the same time becomes a tool to communicate something to the world. Over time, some Bitmonds have begun to be highly sought after by collectors, making their prices rise. Wearing a precious piece represents the first example of Digital Luxury.
How’s the project going?
We have completed the 12-month Market Validation phase. Much has changed, because we have listened to the requests of our users. Listening and adapting is essential for a startup. More than 55,000 Bitmonds have been generated by collectors from over 40 different countries around the world. Almost exclusively thanks to simple word of mouth. Spontaneous groups born on all social networks are now numerous.
The production of the first collection has ended and the Bitmonds that can be generated now belong to the second collection. This encourages exchanges between collectors that value the collectibles not by the ability to touch it, but thanks to the certified uniqueness and the fact that it cannot be falsified.
The world is changing, the digitalization of the sector will guarantee trade security and tracking.
What are the main difficulties you encounter?
The collectibles industry revolution is only beginning, we still encounter many cultural difficulties in understanding the advantages of this path and that the real value of a good is not the few cents of paper on which it is printed, but the rarity and exclusivity that are connected to it.
There is no physical collectible that can give absolute certainty in that sense. A collector gives value to a physical object because he believes in characteristics that cannot be certified at the level that can instead be achieved with digitization. When there is a lot of money at stake, these are the most important aspects of a collector’s item.
How do you use the blockchain?
In a hybrid way, so to speak, in the sense that our project lives outside the blockchain. We use it as a register in which to write and certify the data owned by our digital collectibles in order to provide extra layers of security. We are receiving requests from companies with similar needs, interested in our whitelabeled platform. A part of our business will also concern the customization for the different needs of client companies.
What is Your next steps?
We attended the international Startup Grind Global Conference in Silicon Valley on 11-12 February 2020. One of the most important events for a startup, especially this year on the tenth anniversary. We are back with many interesting contacts that will allow us to develop our business better. We are also working on tests on holographic and augmented reality solutions, to allow Bitmonds to invade the physical world more and more. There will be a lot of fun in the future.