The Lux List / Finance

Merchants Cash-In on Crypto-Affluents’ Insatiable Lust for Luxury Goods

The crypto markets may be in the doldrums right now, but for the many early investors in the digital stuff, the party hasn’t ended

Sep 03, 2018 | By Jason Kwong

Singapore is home to some of the world’s biggest crypto-affluents, who are looking to spend some of their digital cash.

If you were one the prescient few who identified the astronomical rise in Bitcoin and Ethereum towards the end of last year and you’re looking to part with some of that digital coin stash, luxury platforms like Daniani Fine Arts, Aditus and The White Company are here to help.

According to the South China Morning Post, Eleesa Dadiani’s London-based fine art gallery has been accepting a range of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple for some time now. And her Dadiani Syndicate, a platform offering the newly-minted crypto-affluent anything from Picassos to Paganis to lighten their crypto loads.

Speaking to the South China Morning Post from her well-appointed art gallery in a posh neighborhood of London, she explained:

“A couple of years ago, when we saw bitcoin perform as well as it did, there was no way to use those coins. You were rich on screen, but what could yo do with it? You could invest in ICOs but what about something tangible?”

The answer, at the time, was nothing.

The Bel Air Fine Art gallery in London, United Kingdom is just one of a growing number of luxury merchants allowing those with large amounts of cryptocurrencies an outlet for them to express their wealth.

And while the introduction of a “trusted” middleman, or middlewoman in this case is anathema to the decentralized, trustless ethos of the blockchain and Bitcoin, Dadiani and the growing cottage industry that is catering to crypto-affluents perform a vital service.

Dadiani adds, “So I had to create a structure of trust to allow people to cash in on their digital wealth. Through the gallery and contacts with private jet owners and so on, where there is a trust protocol already, I created a syndicate, a platform of clients and dealerships.”

Some have likened Bitcoin to gold as a store of value, but the reality is that it is a digital asset which defies traditional definitions and expectations.

And with the value of Bitcoin, the world’s first decentralized and truly global currency exploding 1,300 percent last year, with Ethereum soaring an eye-watering 8,000 percent, there Dadiani has no shortage of clients, wanting to swap out some of their Bitcoin for a Bentley. Even though cryptocurrencies have fallen off their 2017 highs by some 60 percent, early adopters are still very much in the money, as attested to by crypto-broker Elizabeth White, of The White Company,

“The sales that we see, outside of the ones we facilitate, are by sellers who are also investors in crypto and are willing to accept the volatility as they plan to hold for the long haul and don’t have any cost of goods or expenses.”

Aditus is a decentralized payment gateway connecting crypto-affluents with luxury merchants.

Unlike many of the adopters towards the end of 2017’s astronomical runup in cryptocurrency prices, White shares that most of her clients were either Bitcoin or Ethereum miners in the early days or had simply latched on to the cryptocurrency for a lark. A lark which has since paid off in phenomenal returns. According to White, the hottest items are luxury cars, sparking the oft-heard cry in crypto circles, “When Lambo?” with a Chinese buyer purchasing a limited edition (one of six) Ferraris earlier this year for 273 Bitcoins.

A 16-year old bought his first car, a brand-new Nissan GTR from early Bitcoin mining profits harvested from his gaming computer. And most of White’s clients aren’t what you would typically expect, young, single, white men, with backgrounds in technology. Instead, the largest demographic she has been serving have been clients in Asia, especially from China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and South Korea, where she says, “Many people invested early in bitcoin ahead of the 2017 market boom and are looking for wars to spend their crypto wealth.”

In Singapore, Aditus, co-founded by veteran entrepreneur Julian Peh has seen that rise as well,

“What we’re seeing is a newfound confidence in cryptocurrencies regardless of the market volatility. The volatility will weed out of the speculators and in the long run, dollar values of cryptocurrency should trend towards reflecting a market value.”

Aditus, which successfully completed an oversubscribed ICO last year has even sold a yacht purely with cryptocurrencies and has just recently entered into a partnership with a local Lamborghini dealership so that crypto-affluents can live out their “When Lambo?” dreams in real life.

But it’s not just luxury transportation which is on offer. Fine art and wine are also tickling the fancies of the crypto nouveau riche. In June, Dadiani offered a fractional ownership in Andy Warhol’s 14 Small Electric Chairs, a painting valued at more than US$5 million, with fractional ownership via digital certificates available using Bitcoin, Ethereum or her partnership with Maecenas Fine Art’s ART digital token.

And it’s not just luxury items on sale. Over in Japan, the Japan Cryptocurrency Business Association says that 52,190 shops across Japan already accept Bitcoin as payment. Kohei Kurihara, president of the Tokyo Chapter of the Government Blockchain Association, says it’s usually small shops or internet businesses, everything from home goods and accessories to entertainment and wellness services, that allow payment with Bitcoin,

“IT’S A NEW TREND, BUT IT’S ONLY GOING TO EXPAND TO EVEN MORE SHOPS AND BRANDS IN THE FUTURE.”

Original article posted on cryptoinvestor.asia.


 
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