Paris Hilton is “obsessed” with non-fungible tokens — and now she’s backing a $300 million organization that is bidding to take the boom in digital art to the next level.
Origyn, a Swiss foundation that offers smartphone users a way to authenticate objects of value with digital certificates, has raised $20 million from investors including Hilton and Bill Ackman’s Table Management, according to a statement Tuesday.
The startup, which has received support from the government of Zug, Switzerland — known as Crypto Valley for its concentration of blockchain startups — is working on a way to codify objects into digital certificates that can be authenticated through smartphones and transferable between users. That means if you buy artwork from an online gallery and want to sell it at a Sotheby’s auction 30 years later, Origyn could store the ownership certificate within a decentralized database like ethereum while maintaining records of value changes over time.
The idea is that such products will prove more attractive compared with using art as an investment vehicle.
Origyn wants to attract clients within the luxury industry, which has flocked to blockchain in recent years, by providing an easy way of authenticating high-end goods with product certificates that can be verified through a smartphone app.
The startup is also looking at creating digital assets like titles to land and collectibles like art, vintage cars and fine wines.
One of the biggest challenges facing NFTs is authenticity; digital ownership records are not foolproof when it comes to protecting against forgery or fakes. So while the certificates will work on decentralized databases — which provide much higher levels of security than centralized storage locations like Apple’s iCloud — they also need to be able to stand up in court if necessary.
Origyn says it has solved this issue by using blockchain to store certificates, with a timestamp and GPS coordinates that can’t be tampered with. The startup is also working on an app that will allow users to access the certificates and make transactions.
“I am obsessed with non-fungible tokens,” Hilton said in a statement. “They are the future of digital collectibles and I believe Origyn has the potential to be the leader in this space. I am excited to back them and help drive their innovation.”
Ackman, whose investment firm is known for backing high-profile startups like Uber Technologies Inc., added: “Origyn has the potential to disrupt entire industries by making it easy for anyone to own, trade and verify unique digital assets. We are excited to support their efforts to build a better future for digital collectibles.”