Unique Digital Goods & Blockchain

The existence of blockchain has enabled the monetization of unique digital goods. For the first time, a digital version of a material item — like a photographic print, CD/LP album, a DVD video or game — can retain a digital contract of ownership and rights.

In addition to proof of ownership, the blockchain attests to uniqueness, materiality, and provenance with a level of certainty and persistence now possible with blockchain encryption.

This unique identity identification from a Blockchain will enable 4 types of monetization for the creators or owners of unique digital goods:

1) Collectors & Collectables

2) Rights Assignment & Smart Contracts

3) Preservation, Curation and Access

4) Registry

I’ve discussed each of these in detail at The Value of Being The One.

I believe we are seeing a fifth method of monetization that combines the 4 types into an organic marketplace. Of particular interest is the “organic” component whereby the collectible exhibits life-like behavior which in turn fosters marketplace behavior.

This being the internet, the prime use case are cats.

CryptoKitties were launched in September 2017 as an evolutionary digital product that you collect and trade. Unlike Crytopunks that were designed like a Pokemon or MLB Baseball card, these CryptoKitters show life so you can collect them and create them; you own an algorithmic DNA to breed more cats.

The blockchain acts as a birth certificate; it attests to unique identity and your ownership. This is yours and you own it and you can sell it.

The selling part is particularly special as your cat is unique — only one exists. As you can see in the image above, the Kitty has a 6 digit identifier, an “age” expressed as its Gen or generation, lineage (parents), and its breeding speed: Fast, Snappy and Swift. There are also many visual identity cues, aka: Cattributes, including colors, shapes, body types, and everything that differentiates regular cats; these cattributes can be searched, sorted, and appraised.

Because of these unique cattributes, a robust collectibles marketplace has emerged. Time will tell whether the marketplace will prosper and a CryptoKittie will maintain an enduring value.

Regardless, the lesson learned is that a digital artifact can be created, made unique, and exchanged in a marketplace for real money.

By extension, this will enable artwork, music, video, games, and other digital goods to establish and maintain material value. Of note are these 3 companies that are focused on the art world: Ascribe, Verisart, Avant Arte. Check out SingularDTV for music. This TNW article provides an excellent view of blockchain in the gaming industry.

Continue the conversation with me. Let’s go do it.

Larry W. Smith