Collectibles have been a profitable market for a long time, and cover a broad spectrum of different items. Cars, artworks, coins, stamps, virtually any item can become a collectible given scarcity. Recent statistics demonstrate that more than 6% of households in the US that earn a combined income of more than $100,000 annually spend more than $500 USD on collectibles every year.
Collectors are sought after by individuals of every demographic, but despite the relatively large market size collectibles enjoy, the distribution and auditing of collectibles is largely inefficient. Physical collectibles must provide an auditable provenance trail, and during the current market, collectors are inhibited by a fractured, poorly distributed market.
Digital content, on the other hand, is a highly profitable market that, when combined with blockchain technology, can deliver seamlessly auditable provenance. The digital collectibles market is growing rapidly, and already boasts an estimated value of more than $600 million. Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft, a digital trading card game, currently generates more than half of this total market worth.
A new blockchain platform is aiming to capitalize on this growing market by establishing a method of creating traceable, highly scarce, valuable digital collectibles. The Unico platform is focused on creating decentralized digital collectibles, and is about to launch an initial coin offering in order to fund development.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the Unico platform and find out how it plans to establish this new market. We’ll also take a look at the impending Unico ICO and find out what it offers investors to help you determine whether it’s worth buying in on.
What Is Unico?
Unico plans to attack the new digital collectibles market by creating a cryptographic representation of a license to access specific digital content units. The platforms aims to create provable digital scarcity by linking digital content to a strictly controlled number of access tokens that are issued on the Ethereum blockchain.
This method allows content issuers to create premium content that is limited edition, blockchain certified, and highly collectible. Aside from creating collectible digital content, Unico also wants to create a new type of entirely unique digital content through the creation of the “Me Here Now” system.
The Unico “Me Here Now” solution is intended to function in a similar manner to traditional autographs. The Me Here Now solution is a kind of “proof of attendance” issued through the blockchain, and is intended to create unique digital content.
How Unico Works
The Unico platform wants users to access the collectible digital content it makes available via collectible software. This content can include videos and images, or live video streams. The Unico platform will operate on a unique cryptocurrency token that will function in a similar manner to entry tickets to a concert or event, delivering the on-demand streaming of events. At the end of the event, the tokens created for providing “attendance”, according to Unico, will become collectibles.
Unico also wants to create VR or 3D content, providing users with collectible 360 degree videos, 3D models of physical objects, or virtual reality scenes.
Unico will release the source code for the Unico collector software on Github at a later date, which will include media player and wallet functionality. The final Unico application will enable both mobile transactions and content visualization options, which will allow token holders to view limited edition information.
The platform also intends to create the opportunity for users to benefit from the generation of discount vouchers, VIP event access, and more.
The Unico ICO
The Unico platform will operate on the UNI token, which performs a variety of functions. First and foremost, UNI tokens will be used as currency for settlements on the Unico platform in their secondary market. UNI tokens will also be used to reward collectors and content owners.
Collectors will be able to earn UNI by sharing news and product launches on social media, as well as in the form of loyalty rewards. Content owners will be able to generate UNI from monthly sales.
The Unico revenue model is also somewhat interesting. Revenues from the sale of collectibles on the Unico platform will be split between content owners and Unico via smart contract based upon a royalty percentage. Unico also anticipate a “buy to rent” market in which collectibles such as 3D models or VR experiences can be licensed on a premium content basis.
The Unico ICO is set to launch on the 30th of November 2017, and will make 10,000,000 UNI tokens available for purchase. A further 400k tokens will be reserved for marketing and bounties, and 900k for reserve. Interestingly, Unico are planning on reserving 2.4 million tokens specifically for the Unico team.
Unico Global Conclusion
No matter how you slice it, Unico appears to be an extremely cynical attempt to use the blockchain to drive up the prices of digital content. The creators of the Unico platform are apparently out of touch with their target demographic- stated in the Unico white paper as “digital natives”- a demographic in which less than one third believe that illegal file sharing is wrong.
Truly, the Unico platform is diametrically opposed to the core tenets of blockchain technology, which is founded on transparency and decentralization. Instead, the Unico platform appears to attempt to use the cryptographic nature of blockchain tech to reinforce the current content distribution paradigm that benefits only the oligarchs of digital content distribution.
The business model proposed by Unico is sound, however, and does target a growing market. Whether or not the market for premium digital collectives or “rentable VR 3D models” is sustainable, however, is up to you.