Karen Jones, Editor, Citywealth, spoke to the founders of Blockbar, a luxury spirit /NFT company. Dov Falic, co-founder & CEO, and Sam Falic, co-founder & President, talk about bitcoin and access to the established wine and spirit markets with new crypto consumers.
Will bitcoin change the world?
Bitcoin has already changed the world. Bitcoin has revolutionized the way we think of money and decentralization. Its crazy to think that a relatively new invention has shaped how people think and has moved industries.
Why are you in it, because of a belief in technology or more?
The technology has a proven track record of tackling the authenticity and counterfeiting issues many industries face, including the luxury spirits and wine industry. With NFTs we are also able to break down demographic barriers and give brands unrivaled access to new consumers who are interested in crypto, NFTs and collectables, something the industry didn’t have access to previously. Through BlockBar we are able to turn the luxury wine and spirits space into something accessible to all markets whether crypto or fiat. Prior to BlockBar, many of these spirits and wines would only be open to a select group of individuals whereas now we have created a permanent marketplace to be accessed anywhere in the world at any time of day.
In percentage terms what is the institutional adoption in your view? And is adoption just custody, superficial or fully fledged investment?
I think we are not suited to answer this; however, in our opinion institutional adoption is still in its infancy stage. If crypto continues on the trajectory it’s been on, more and more institutional wealth will participate in the space both as a hedge and as an investment.
If you sold your business, are you out? Switching to another industry or going back in?
It is impossible to predict the future but we don’t believe we will be selling our business or stakes in crypto anytime soon, we really believe that Crypto is here to stay. We know there are countless opportunities within this space and our goal with BlockBar is to attract new people into the world of investing and collecting through a number of new drops and collaborations, so we are very excited about what’s to come.
What led you to crypto?
With a background in luxury spirits and wine, we realised that both consumers and brands face various obstacles predominately around access, communication, storage and authenticity. We chose to use NFTs as a certification because they are efficient at proving authenticity and verifying ownership. By utilising blockchain technologies, BlockBar is now enabling consumers to connect directly with brands through our service and products.
Thinking about news stories like Ottawa and now Mexico looking to accept bitcoin, is this part of global adoption?
Bitcoin has seen a huge growth in value as well as popularity, seeing the currency accepted on house payments, athlete contracts and more. The global adoption of crypto as a wider payment method is something we see spread more and more each day. Many see investing in crypto as a store of value however we believe that investing into the likes of fine wine and spirits can also be highly valuable. Fine wine and luxury spirits have become highly coveted and collectible investments have grown by 582% in the last 10 years and outperformed gold markets and stock markets alike. We believe the use of NFTs and cryptocurrencies will revolutionise the buying, collecting, and selling market for high-end wines and spirits.
Do you think NFTs should be a major element of luxury strategies?
We believe that NFTs can be a major element in luxury strategies. There are many benefits to utilise and take advantage of that have never been seen in the luxury space before, predominantly the access and authentic safeguarding it opens up to all buyers. The new audience engaging and investing in NFTs are essentially a whole new demographic for brands to tap into.
Typically, what is the cost to a brand of developing an NFT? What does growth typically look like for brands that have dipped into NFTs?
The cost of minting NFTs vary depending on many different variables, but generally speaking it is inexpensive. BlockBar does not charge brands for minting NFTs. All products on BlockBar are listed at around RRP or are less expensive than alternatives because utilising the BlockBar model, consumers interact directly with the brands, rather than going through multiple intermediaries.
BlockBar is also working with luxury liquor companies such as ‘Glenfiddich’, ‘Patron’, ‘Royal Salute’. Is there a different approach of using NFTs depending on the type of liquor?
Our approach remains the same with every drop - we aim to offer exclusive products with ‘money can’t buy experiences’, building a community of new collectors and established connoisseurs. Regardless of the type of liquid, we create an environment where anyone can collect directly from brands.
What are you currently doing to help brands enter the world of NFTs?
Our team is as involved as the brands need us to be. We can work alongside the brands digital teams or we can create full scale strategies for the brands to ensure they maximise their experience and return with BlockBar. Our team aims to make NFTs approachable for brands and their consumers as we appreciate it is a new market for many. However, BlockBar is a great way for brands to onboard into web3 and the metaverse.
Blockbar - About Dov Falic, co-founder & CEO, and Sam Falic, co-founder & President:
Dov Falic, co-founder and CEO of BlockBar, was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in Panama City, Panama. As part of the next generation of the Falic Group, owners of the largest duty-free operation in the Western Hemisphere, Dov has been immersed in the luxury and retail industry from a young age. Having started in the warehouse ten years ago, Dov went on to serve as the Global Spirits Director and Executive Vice President of the LATAM division. As part of that role, Dov helped oversee the development of Paneco, the largest e-commerce delivery platform in Singapore and Israel, creating one of the largest liquor distribution channels in LATAM, and running the spirits and wine purchasing for DFA. In partnership with his cousin Samuel, in October 2021, and at the age of 29 Dov founded BlockBar, the first global direct-to-consumer NFT marketplace for wine and spirits.