Market Musings: A Whisky Investment | Empirex Capital

Market Musings: A Whisky Investment

UniCask is using NFTs to offer tradeable, fractionalized shares in a cask of Springbank 1991 Scotch whiskey, opening the market to amateurs and connoisseurs.

A Japanese spirits firm has announced plans to offer fractional ownership of single casks of Scotch whisky using NFT tokens.

Tokyo-based UniCask Co. plans to make a hogshead of Springbank 1991 Scotch whiskey its “Genesis Cask,” offering buyers a share of the Campbeltown distillery’s single malt when it is bottled.

The use of non-fungible tokens — a type of cryptocurrency in which each token carries unique data or media — will offer access to single-cask trading to a much broader, less wealthy audience, the company said, adding:

“Trading spirits in wooden casks (where the spirits' value increases as a vintage item) has been limited to small communities, such as among acquaintances of distilleries or people in the spirits business, which made it extremely difficult, or practically impossible for average collectors and amateurs to participate.”

Aside from the financial side of the UniCask offering, bottles of single-barrel malts are prized by whisky connoisseurs but can be very difficult to find without access to stores with large and expensive collections.

In April 2021, the company began using NFTs to sell whole casks of Japanese whisky — the country’s own “Scotch” whisky has become highly prized around the world — internationally. Now it is taking the next step, making “ownership of whisky and spirits casks possible for everyone by fractionalizing a whisky cask into NFTs with blockchain technology.”

The paper trail traditionally associated with cask sales makes it “troublesome for distilleries and warehouses to identify the rightful owner and keep the records,” UniCask said, adding that lost or incorrect paperwork makes proving ownership a “hassle” — whereas proving provenance is a strength of NFTs.

A Whisky Investment

While NFTs can be used to fractionalize everything from real estate to stock shares, the tokens are largely used for art, gaming, and collectibles. Ripple recently announced a $250 million fund to expand the uses of NFTs.

UniCask’s tokens are tradeable for profit, but are clearly aimed at whisky drinkers: UniCask NFTs not only provide ownership of future bottles, but they also allow “owners to partake in UniCask's games (where each NFT has its own unique attributes), and the tickets to the exclusive UniCask community,” the company said.

It’s not the Scotch community’s first foray into blockchain technology. In December 2020, provenance tracking firm Everledger teamed up with the Scottish Universities Environment Research Centre to seal tracking tags recorded on a blockchain to bottles of very rare and expensive Scotches at the distillery, proving proof of provenance in a market ripe with fraud and misinformation.

Created on 13th Oct 2021

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