Geneva, Switzerland--Ask most lay people what they know about “blockchain technology,” and few will have much of an answer beyond “Bitcoin.” In fact, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are just one manifestation of how the promise of blockchain technology can offer interesting solutions to many of today’s problems that can be solved by items with unique digital signatures (like a currency should have, for example). In 2019, Vacheron Constantin announced it would use blockchain technology to produce forgery-proof digital certificates for its Les Collectionneurs timepieces. Image: EuropaStar.
Blockchain technology can be thought of as providing an entirely unique digital item in a world where traditional logic suggests that digital things can be copied easily and readily. Tokens (in blockchain parlance) are those items, comprised of complicated, encrypted bits of data that are stored in distributed (versus single and local) digital ledgers.
What does all that mean for the luxury watch industry?
The many promises of Blockchain. Over the last few years, I’ve had high-level discussions with a surprising number of companies that have the same exact goal: to sell blockchain tracing technology to luxury watch brands. So far, none of these business plans has taken off, as far as I know. In this essay, I’d like to generally discuss what promise blockchain technology has for the luxury watch industry, and then explore a few of the major hurdles that entrepreneurs in this space still need to overcome before the traditional watch industry, as it is now constituted, is more likely to embrace this technology.
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