When Jackson Aw was introduced to blockchain technology in 2018, he “didn’t understand it at all.”
“Can anyone lighten up more than that for me? Like, can you just tell me what I can get as a consumer?”
This was four years ago. Today, she seems to have an answer to that question.
The 32-year-old Singaporean who runs Mighty Jaxx – a multi-million dollar gaming company that produces collectibles and lifestyle products – has integrated blockchain into its products.
A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records every transaction made. It cannot be tampered with or changed retroactively.
CNBC Make It explores why it “makes sense” for the collectibles empire to take advantage of the potential of the blockchain and bet on the metaverse.
Founded in 2012, Mighty Jaxx has partnered with some of the biggest global brands and visual artists, to produce trendy collectibles that incorporate pop culture and design.
Ou said the company has since sold millions of gaming collectibles to people in more than 80 countries.
Limited-edition Mighty Jaxx collectibles can cost up to $1,200 on their website, but in the secondary market they can fetch “five to ten times” their original value, Aw said.
But there is one problem.
“When you want to sell a product, the number one question everywhere is ‘Is it authentic? “
Ao added: “For collectibles, what [sellers] is for them to take pictures of the statue and post it on Facebook groups, asking people to verify its authenticity.”
However, Aw was not satisfied with this method of authentication.
“Who does the word appear? Where does it come from? So we thought, OK, that’s what we need.”
Mighty Jaxx has built a NFC chip and integrated it into every game. NFC technology enables short-range wireless communication between two devices.
With our app, you can [scan the chip]Register your ownership of the item [to show] It is an authentic Mighty Jaxx product,” said Aw.
Powered by the blockchain, the platform issues and validates unique, tamper-proof certificates for each product. It also provides a digital fingerprint when item ownership changes.
“If Jay Chou or Jie Jie Lin owned that statue before you, that is definitely much more valuable than owning it,” O laughs. Jay Chou and Ji Ji Lin are two of the most popular Mandarin pop singers.
Providing trusted authentication through blockchain technology is just the “start” for Mighty Jaxx.
As the market for non-fungible tokens sees explosive growth in 2021, Ou said that happened when there was a “change in culture as we knew it.”
“[Being] Artists and creators in general… It’s always been a service-based business. But it has now flipped. Now, content and intellectual property are key, because without any of this [visual] representation, that technology does nothing,” Ao explained.
“Nothing speaks louder than the visible.”
NFTs are crypto-based digital assets that also function like collectibles – something that Mighty Jaxx is no stranger to.
Hence, it “makes sense” for Aw to step into the space, by offering fans exclusive digital experiences with physical collectibles.
“When you buy our NFTs, you have the access and opportunity to purchase the physical appearance of them in that design. So only this group of people will be able to buy that number,” he said.
“Because only they can do that and they can bring the two asset classes together, it generates a higher value for them.”
Aw believes that this is the “phygital” advantage that Mighty Jaxx has over its competitors – being able to offer both digital and physical assets.
“The fact that we create digital assets before we produce physical games … means we can go to market faster as well,” he added.
“I can’t think of, you know, 10 other companies doing this in the entire world, simply because the work related to creating a device or [physical] Collectible, it’s naturally just a steeper learning curve.”
In 2021, Mighty Jaxx launched its first set of NFT trading cards, featuring cats that resemble Chinese cuisine, dim sum.
“We launched 6,000 units, within… two seconds, it was all sold out,” Au said.
Mighty Jaxx got his big break with DC Comics by registering a licensing partnership in 2015, which allowed it to “redesign” the creative intellectual property.
Since then, it has partnered with famous brands to reach audiences around the world, from Adidas, Hasbro and Nickelodeon to Formula 1, Sesame Street and Netflix.
“There is a lot of work to be done,” says Aw, with plans to expand its IP collaboration into the metaverse as well.
The metaverse is a collection of virtual worlds where people live, work and play.