ORIGYN, a Swiss foundation that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and authenticate objects of value, has partnered with luxury watch marketplace WatchBox. The pair will co-produce certificates of authenticity in the form of NFTs that enable customers to trade the digital ownership of a watch.
ORIGYN is the largest project on the Internet Computer Protocol, or ICP, developed by The DFINITY Foundation blockchain. Individuals who purchase a collector quality timepiece via WatchBox can expect ORIGYN to certify the authenticated object thanks to its biometric technology. Each watch is given a unique biometric fingerprint and an NFT that contains all of this information is minted.
These are utility NFTs that may offer customers insurance, digital provenance, concierge service, and access to exclusive experiences. Users can point their phone cameras at a watch, scan it via the application and verify its serial number. ORIGYN’s utility NFTs will be rolled out to WatchBox consumers in the summer of 2022.
Cointelegraph spoke to Daniel Haudenschild, chief executive officer of ORIGYN Enterprise, the for-profit arm of the ORIGYN Foundation, who said that authentication NFTs will make secondary market trading faster and safer for buyers and sellers alike. He said that the secondary market in luxury watches is expected to reach as high as $32 billion by 2025.
“By combining blockchain, unique luxury goods biometrics technology and our utility NFTs, we aim to authenticate luxury goods and ensure their ‘unfalsifiability’ traceability throughout their use, from sale to second hand, and allow customers to make luxury purchases in complete security.”
According to Haudenschild, tracking provenance is one of the oldest use cases for blockchain, but using authentication NFTs provides a “direct route to your consumer in a way that brands and manufacturers have never had before.” He used watchmaker Omega as an example, stating that if Omega had a customer database of all the owners of its watches, even those who purchased via the secondary market, it could offer them free tickets to the next James Bond movie.
According to ORIGYN the Swiss watch industry alone loses $2 billion annually to counterfeits, and over 40 million counterfeit luxury watches are produced and sold annually. More than 37% of luxury end-consumers in France have bought a counterfeit product without knowing it.
Haudenschild said that many would-be buyers are fearful of being duped and weary of the second-hand market. He added that this leads to an illiquid market in addition to diminishing consumer loyalty and brand equity.
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Recently, ORIGYN partnered with the Union of European Football Associations, or UEFA, Foundation for Children on an “NFTs for Good” initiative of historic collectibles, and will premier on ORIGYN’s soon-to-launch NFT marketplace, Impossible Things.