November 29, 2018 12:38 AM
There are crypto startups for numerous use cases, from supply chain and renewable energy to video games and art. But here’s a different application: traceable vinyl toys.
The company CryptoKaiju, which makes cryptocurrency-themed collectibles, is shipping its first batch of 130 figurines today. The toys are represented as non-fungible ERC721 tokens on the Ethereum blockchain, meaning each item has a distinct identity. A near-field communication tag is placed on every figurine, which maps to each toy’s corresponding ERC721 token.
Additionally, CryptoKaiju is offering its own subscription box service, allowing customers to receive a different toy every month. Crypto-themed boxes are not new (CryptoCrate apparently exists), but they are certainly not popular in the space.
The key benefit of blockchain-based collectibles is provenance – toy collectors can verify the identity of the items they purchase and trade, rather than having to worry about knockoffs or peddled merchandise. This flavor of traceability is much like that which appears in blockchain art solutions.
CryptoKaiju’s model, though, seems to be backward: from digital to analog instead of the other way around. Cryptocollectibles like Etheremon and CryptoKitties are housed on the Ethereum blockchain – and they will stay digital. The concept of a blockchain-based toy like CryptoKaiju’s figurines, however, integrates the nascent technology into the ever-relevant, historic pastime of collecting physical objects, such as stamps, quarters, or Beanie Babies.
Although the use case is interesting (and the Kaiju-inspired toys are cute), one must wonder about the value that provenance provides to these collectibles. Is it worth it to spend $55 on a single, obscure figurine or $320 for six of them? I’m not sure.
Daniel Putney is a full-time writer for ETHNews. He received his bachelor’s degree in English writing from the University of Nevada, Reno, where he also studied journalism and queer theory. In his free time, he writes poetry, plays the piano, and fangirls over fictional characters. He lives with his partner, three dogs, and two cats in the middle of nowhere, Nevada.
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