Just What Are Licensed Digital Collectibles Anyway?

Published in
8 min readJul 25, 2018

From the dawn of conscious civilisation, we have been collectors. From coconuts to tools, money to clothes, collecting has turned from a tool of survival to a hobby, to become an integral part of our individual and collective identity. As with many technological developments, collecting is poised to launch into the digital world thanks to the ingenuity of the ECOMI team. You will soon be able to own, and interact with, your own licensed digital collectibles through VE-VE. So what is a ‘licensed digital collectible’ anyway, and why does this matter?

VE-VE mockups

A Brief History of Collectables

Collecting has always been part of human societies. Around 12,000 years ago early humans transitioned from nomadic tribes to settlers, where collecting became integral to survival, whether it was tools or food, such as collecting nuts and berries, or the beginning of ‘comfort items.’

“Humans are unique in the way we collect items purely for the satisfaction of seeking and owning them” — Christian Jarrett

Many psychologists believe our ‘knack’ for collecting begins in the throes of youth, beginning with an emotional need for love and attention, and developing into a desire for ownership and control, manifested through the possession of items such as a favourite blanket or toy. Others compare our need to collect and complete ‘sets’ of collectibles to the innate learning we acquired in the hunter/gatherer stage of human survival.

Huge social upheaval, such as the World Wars, also led to a change in perception whereby items and possessions gained greater importance and purchase in our lives. ‘Saving’ or holding onto these items created emotional bonds, positive memories, and often characterised someone as ‘thrifty.’ These items not only give us some sense of meaning or enjoyment, but we also afford the item a collective sense of respect, value and/or use.

In more modern times, the possession of, and emotional bonds formed with, items and collectibles has moved from tools that are imperative to our survival (which are no longer as necessary) to objects of desire or interest, and in doing so have consistently evolved and changed medium.

From postage stamps and coins, to comic books and baseball cards, right through to shoes, records, jewellery, cars and art, everyone is collecting something. Moreover, collecting has become not only a prolific passion for many, being a ‘collector’ is often respected and revered, regardless of the item itself. With collectibles ready to move onto the VE-VE digital platform, it is important to understand the form they will take, and why this is a key point of difference to collecting in the past.

A very respectable record collection

What Are Licensed Collectibles?

In today’s world, licensing goes hand in hand with branding and product procurement. Depending on the circumstance, and the medium, a license grants the holder permission/authority to distribute products and merchandise, based on the intellectual property of a content creator.

David Yu, ECOMI CEO, has been involved in licensing and retail for more than 20 years, working with intellectual property, and transforming unique gaming and collectible licenses into globally recognised brands. One of Yu’s other companies (and partner of ECOMI) Games R Us, was responsible for bringing names such as Pokemon, Star Wars and Warhammer to Asia, New Zealand, and Australasia.

Games R Us licenses

What Are Licensed Digital Collectables?

Digital collectibles have only recently become possible thanks to a development in computer science called the blockchain. This, coupled with the ability to create unique and identifiable digital assets (non-fungible tokens) means that digital assets can now be identified, purchased, traded and sold, with no infringements on intellectual property rights, or disputes about ownership.

Putting licensed collectibles on the blockchain means that, for the first time, you can own a digital version of your favourite characters and brands. For example, ECOMI has already acquired the license to turn tokidoki characters into digital collectibles. With a number of other licensing agreements under negotiation it won’t be long before you can buy, trade and sell your favourite characters, each with their own unique features and value.

ECOMI, through its digital collectible platform VE-VE, is the world's first company to bring licensed and recognizable content to the blockchain. This not only opens up the $200b + collectibles market to a new digital medium but it also offers an opportunity for IP license holders to break into a new emerging market, with high-quality digital content.

The company intends to capture the premium end of the digital collectibles market with five main categories, including film and television content, animation, gaming, evergreen characters, and digital art.

“In all my years of collecting, the demand for collectables has never faded, but they have constantly changed mediums. I believe that digital collectables are only just emerging, and we will see it reach the same popularity as tangible collectables.” — David Yu, CEO

Why Are Licensed Digital Collectibles the Next Big Thing?

Collectibles are no longer toys you can never play with, or that you leave on a dusty shelf in the hopes it’ll be worth something one day. And thanks to ECOMI’s licensing agreements, digital collectibles will no longer be random and unknown creations. Rather, licensing digital collectibles opens up a new realm of possibilities for ownership, interaction and use of your favourite brands, characters, and items.

Thanks to developments in augmented and virtual reality, VE-VE allows you to view your collectibles in a ‘showroom’ and share your collection with friends! Version 1 of the app even recognises the ECOMI Secure Wallet to display your characters in augmented reality!

Demo of VE-VE augmented reality feature

With VE-VE you will also be able to augment the appearance of your collectible characters in 2D and 3D, with new costumes, scenes and actions- an entirely new feature of collecting that is only available thanks to their digital form.

Furthermore, ECOMI has established a number of symbiotic partnerships with gaming companies such as Big Red Button Entertainment and Pixion Games, to not only develop licensed content but also to integrate these collectibles into gaming applications and scenarios. Imagine being able to use your collectibles to battle your friends in Virtual Reality! Sounds much better than leaving it in ‘mint condition’ on a shelf!

The benefits of going digital aren’t just limited to appearance and interaction. With the simple to use Collect app, ECOMI has opened the doors for a new wave of collectible enthusiasts to take advantage of the underlying blockchain technology, without the need to fully understand how it works.

VE-VE not only facilitates the purchase, trade, and sale of licensed digital collectibles, content and artworks (thanks to the native OMI token), it also means:

  1. Distribution is now possible, instantly, and on a global scale, to anyone with a smartphone. A feature that has not been possible until now.
  2. Lower operating costs. As a physical product is no longer required to provide the same inherent value, creators and licensors of collectibles are able to increase their brand awareness on a grander scale, with less outlay.
  3. Digital collectibles, artworks and intellectual property are now fully protected, as each item can be traced to its origins. This means digital collectibles can be authenticated and verified, protecting both the creators and the owners from scams and fakes.
  4. The rarity of collectibles translates onto digital platforms. Thanks to NFTs it is possible to produce a limited number of unique collectibles, with each being individually identifiable. This means character series and limited editions can be created, as well as opening the potential for signed digital artworks.
  5. Licensed digital collectibles have returned property rights to the digital economy.

How Do I Protect My New Digital Assets?

I’m so glad you asked! The immutable nature of the blockchain has removed the threat of fakes or copies and allows us to verify and trace the ownership of digital collectibles thanks to their non-fungible nature. However the digital realm is still subject to hacks, scams and phishing attempts, and up until now, there has not been a simple way to secure your digital assets.

The ECOMI Secure Wallet is solving this problem, by being the first and only true cold storage hardware device available. This simple to use, credit card-sized hardware wallet allows you to safely and secure your digital collectibles offline, circumventing any would-be attackers and protecting your digital assets.

With CC EAL5+ (the highest level of security available for government level deployments) the Secure Wallet is both immutable and highly functional, allowing you to use it on the fly thanks to an encrypted Bluetooth connection and simple to use smartphone app.

You can purchase the Secure Wallet now on our Online Store!

The ECOMI Secure Wallet and companion app


ECOMI is a technology company based in Singapore and is leading the way in the emerging digital collectibles space. ECOMI offers a one-stop-shop for digital collectibles through the VE-VE app bringing pop culture and entertainment into the 21st century.

The VE-VE app allows users to experience true ownership of premium digital collectibles. Through the app marketplace, users can obtain common, rare, or one-of-a-kind digital collectibles, share these across the social network service, and exchange them with the VE-VE community, all from the palm of their hand.

ECOMI sees digital collectibles as a new asset class that offers intellectual property owners the opportunity for new revenue streams in the digital landscape. Digital streaming, gaming, and in-app purchasing have become a multibillion-dollar market and the next to join this digital trend is the pop culture and collectibles industry.

To be one of the first to use the VE-VE app, visit VEVE.me and register with your email.

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