Crurated’s Alfonso De Gaetano Talks Wine NFTs – Forbes Advisor
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The sale of digital art non-fungible tokens (NFTs) may be on the decline, but there are countless other players exploring new and unique ways to use NFTs.
What is an NFT, you ask? Think of it as a way to store digital records on a blockchain, the distributed ledger technology that underpins most cryptocurrencies. From government benefits to land titles, any form of data can be stored securely on a blockchain.
And what does this have to do with wine? When it comes to fine wines, establishing and proving authenticity is a key objective. NFTs are an ideal tool to give winemakers and wine buyers a flawless method of verifying the provenance of individual bottles.
Forbes Advisor spoke with Alfonso De Gaetano, founder of cruelty, on the future of wine NFTs. Crurated is a blockchain-based wine membership program launched in 2021 that connects the world of NFTs and invests in rare wines.
Crurated recently launched an exclusive partnership with renowned French winemaker Charles Lachaux. As part of this partnership, Crurated members can access special offers like Bourgogne Aligoté, Les Champs d’Argent, 2021, and Côte de Nuits Village, Aux Montagnes, 2021.
Below are excerpts from our interview with De Gaetano, which have been edited for clarity and length.
Can you tell our readers how Crurated works?
Crurated was built by wine collectors for wine collectors – I’m a huge collector myself. I wanted to do something that would be awesome for all wine collectors.
One of the main issues with collecting is access, and we provide access even if you’re new to wine.
Our platform gives collectors the opportunity to obtain wines from the best producers – and our platform is constantly growing with some of the best names in the world, although for now we are only focusing on Italy and France.
How do you use blockchain in your business? Are stickers affixed to wine bottles to ensure traceability?
We apply Crurated Near Field Communication (NFC) tags to every bottle. This technology uses radio frequency identification tags (RFID), which is what proves the authenticity of the wine.
Each unique bottle of wine is associated with a unique NFC code. And this unique NFC code is saved on the blockchain. We use the Polygon blockchain for our wine NFTs.
This creates a lot of value, certifying a bottle as soon as it leaves the seller or the producer.
Can you give us an example of how this works?
We mainly sell lots. We do not sell single bottles apart from large formats such as Magnum, Double Magnum, etc.
All the bottles we sell have NFC tags. Any customer who buys on our platform can see where each bottle of their batch is, sometimes at the warehouse, sometimes in transit.
So once they buy, their bottles are labeled and they have access to the NFT on the blockchain, then they can click and ship with whatever they want.
How does the use of a blockchain help to prove the authenticity of a wine?
When I went to wine auctions and bought as a major collector, you didn’t really know the full story of any given bottle. There may be some kind of certification, but you don’t have absolute certainty where the bottle came from, the producer, its history or how it got there.
So we’re really focused on the value that blockchain technology provides to address these issues. We consider it very valuable to customers in terms of bottle authenticity and traceability.
With wine NFTs, each step is recorded on the blockchain. Ten years later, if you buy a bottle of Crurated or someone else. You can tap on your phone and see all of its history.
How many bottles are there on the Crurated blockchain so far?
We applied NFT technology to 25,000 bottles of wine. These are some of the best wines in the world. Next year we plan to create NFTs for at least 50,000 bottles of wine.
Are wine NFTs a better way to manage digital certification?
We are the first wine marketplace in the world to use blockchain technology where it counts, certifying at scale every bottle that comes direct from producers in our warehouse in Burgundy, France.
We offer our customers full traceability from the exit of the producers’ cellar to the arrival in their own cellar.
I am a strong believer in the functional value of blockchain. The lack of authenticity and traceability are major issues in the wine world today.
Who is the ideal Crurated member?
We are looking for passionate wine lovers who seek access to some of the best wines and wine producers in the world.
We sell a full range of wines from major producers which usually start from 30 euros and can go up to tens of thousands of euros.
What is the future of NFTs as it relates to the wine industry? Do you think this model is sustainable over time?
There is no denying that NFTs have earned a reputation for having staggering valuations that have rapidly fallen. At Crurated, we believe in the value of blockchain and NFT technology beyond the hype.
If you were part of the early days of e-commerce, you might remember the hype surrounding e-commerce businesses and the resulting market crashes.
Digital-native companies that have stayed in the game and strategically harnessed the power of e-commerce to transform online retail in many markets are now generating billions, if not billions, in online sales every year.
The same goes for blockchain and NFTs. Beyond commerce and, in our case, wine, they are used in several unique ways. There is hype, but beyond the hype, there are opportunities.
Crurated offers four levels of membership, ranging from a free service to a connoisseur subscription at 36 euros per month, a collector subscription at 180 euros per month and an ambassador subscription at 600 euros per month.
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