Updated: Feb 16, 2021

(William Quigley, CEO Opskins and Worldwide Asset eXchange, speaking at Goldman Sachs 2019 Technology Symposium in London)

Last week, Smartzer attended Goldman Sachs’ Disruptive Technology Symposium 2019 in London. The event saw some of the worlds most cutting-edge tech firms come together to display their new innovations largely in the Blockchain, Micro Mobility, Fintech, and A.I. spaces. Our highlight of the event was a talk given by William Quigley, CEO Opskins and Worldwide Asset eXchange (WAX), who introduced the new way of trading collectible and luxury goods online. This was particularly interesting as it could supposedly transform the way consumers buy/sell products in the future and might pave the way for retailers to follow suit with blockchain too.

Here’s what we gathered from the presentation:

When it comes to trading highly desirable goods online, traditional market places are still facing a few inefficiencies. The nature of the market can mean that some items have to go between multiple different owners and locations who never actually even open the packaging, before it finally reaches the consumer. Not to mention that the commission on each transaction can be up to 20%. vIRLs (pronounced virals) solve these problems by separating ownership from possession.

vIRL is a virtual item linked to real-world merchandise that now can be bought and traded online through the use of blockchain platform Through digitally scanning products and verifying their authenticity using 3D laser scanning/weighing, digital versions of products can exist online and be traded securely through blockchain. This allows an item to remain in the same location, but be traded multiple times before it is redeemed and distributed to the final buyer. Because of this, the platform can provide a much cheaper commission price of a few percent, therefore dramatically out-pricing typical market places such as eBay. The platform can also host multiple transactions per item a day, 200x more than the speed of eBay.

Despite being in its early stages of release, luxury apparel owners are currently able to ship their items to WAX, where they are digitally scanned/verified and their digital twin or vIRL is made. From there the owner can trade their vIRL version of their shoes for a price on the vIRL marketplace. On the marketplace, users have access to detailed product specifications, complete trading history, and comprehensive ownership records. Thus, ensuring each purchase is highly informed. The customers are then able to either redeem their vIRL, trade it again for a potential profit or even use it as a virtual product for their avatars in virtual worlds such as the video game Fortnite.

It’s that last point that might be quite baffling to some, but the virtual/in-game product market is larger than you think with already over 100bn products traded in the virtual world already. vIRLs, therefore, enable the worlds of e-commerce, trading and video gaming to come together and exchange real-world items with a virtual counterpart. This would not be possible without the use of Blockchain enables a high level of security and authenticity with each product, by removing the opportunity to counterfeit the digitized products.

This latest innovation is definitely one to watch and is sure to become an evermore powerful player in shaping the world of luxury e-commerce in the future.