Antiques: The Ideal Blockchain Market

Antiques: The Ideal Blockchain Market

Cardano Should Network the Past to Link Up the Future

Submitted to Project Catalyst June 2022
By H. Weber Wilson

Project Set-Up

Somewhere, Cardano has the crypto key to the door that is holding back mass blockchain adaptation–the solution akin the “GUI Moment” for personal computers.

We just have to find it.

This goal of “bringing the people on board” is the underlying quest of all “D-centric” developers but so far success remains elusive. A big reason for this shortfall is that while crypto/blockchain tries to evolve as “user friendly & tech cool”, it continues to be created mostly for a demographic of easy adaptors. D-apps and Defi still have only reached the hearts and minds of a small, albeit dedicated & worldwide, audience.

Antiques is the perfect market in which to achieve mass blockchain acceptance. It is a huge business, infinitely sharded, and truly the Last of the Great Free Markets. It may be the original–and is still the greatest–DAO.

  • “Antiques” encompasses a massive international group of like-minded individuals.
  • The millions of people involved are from every economic strata and multiple cultures.
  • Tens of millions of antiques transactions already transverse and connect the planet.
  • Without governance, the antiques business has developed sophisticated protocols.
  • ” Antiques” is totally open source: anyone can join and plug into existing networks.
  • There is near non-existent government oversite because there is no market “center”

And the key critical values for antiques buyers and sellers are:

  • Authenticity
  • Condition
  • Provenance
  • Scarcity

Which makes the antiques market a gold mine for smart contracts and NFTs.

But rather than trying to “convince” the antiques market to adopt Cardano, this project seeks to comprehensively assess how the Cardano ecosystem can adapt to the needs of the massive and viable antiques business model that already encapsulates everything that “D-centric” expectations represent.

The project will collect and analyze ideas and dialogue from all the key players: buyers, sellers, Cardano techno-innovators, investors, market makers, and critical services such as auctioneers, antiques show promoters, and trade media.

The end result will be a White Paper that includes a plan, a strategy, and a time line that will network the new back into the old, thereby setting up Carano to become the great integrator of the blockchain—”riding a wave of History to all that lies beyond”.

Antiques is the Ideal Blockchain Test Market

To repeat, the antiques business is maybe the first and still the best DAO. As such, it is the perfect market in which to achieve mass blockchain acceptance. The global business is huge, infinitely sharded, and the Last of the Great Free Markets.

Bringing the block chain to the Antiques market requires a study of all the possibilities—and all the barriers—that make up the Gordian knot of widespread crypto consternation. On the plus side, In addition to the positive factors noted above, consider that antiques:

  • Is a “Business of Ones”; singular items are the most valuable.
  • Has refined the idea of trustlessness; huge commerce is generated without financial middlemen
  • Thrives on gazillions of small transactions everyday
  • Keeps most of the money in the market because dealers’ best customers are other dealers.
  • Is a business where your competition can be your best source for a big score.
  • Is the last of the great free markets—true price discovery of “willing buyer/willing seller”
  • Is highly self-regulated and with almost no government oversight.
  • Is made of people from all socio-economic levels—who are friendly, imaginative, and serious.

And on the negative side, antiques people embody all challenges that make up the current resistance to blockchain usage:

  • An older demographic not anxious to change
  • Overall lack of innate tech knowledge
  • Not tech savvy…but tech wary
  • Crypto curious but not crypto committed
  • Strong desire to keep transactions anonymous
  • Happy with current transactions that are speedy and simple
  • Cash transactions are still widely used; sometimes expected
  • Overall bare minimum knowledge of crypto currency, Web 3, and the blockchain
  • Those familiar with Bitcoin think it is a speculative bet
  • Almost no one in antiques has heard of Cardano

Therefore, as of right now, the antiques business does not need Cardano.

But Cardano can benefit hugely by linking up with the antiques business.

Back in 1995 the consensus was that antiques & computers would never mix, but now, everyone is part of the cell phone age, actively buying and selling via digital images, and using digital payment systems like PayPal, Venmo, and Square.

So the groundwork of accepting digital technology was achieved quickly once everybody made their peace with mouse-click money.

And this makes the Cardano challenge quite clear. All that’s needed is an irresistibly user-friendly process that makes more money faster, offers permanent, accessible records for key factors such as condition and provenance…and sweetens up the deal with rewards and residual value (via NFTs and the metaverse) that will become the provable incentive for enticing significant market adaptation. All with just a few clicks.

“A piece of cake,” eh?

Blockchain, Crypto—and Cardano– At The Tipping Point

Block chain, crypto, and Cardano are poised for the Big One. The technology, the dedication, the imaginations, and the money are all jammed up and waiting to break out. Cardano can be a critical leader in this historic time in which the past can once again be the critical link to the future.

  • Existing products or integrations –
    Cardano has numerous applications up and running that can assist with this project. A key part of the research will seek input from the across the Cardano ecosystem, as the “solution” we are seeking will undoubtedly borrow ideas and capabilities of many different applications.
  • Technical requirements –
    Cardano certainly has all the tools, libraries, and SDKs to make this project successful. The big challenge will be the willingness to use upside-down analysis, and select applications that will “re-tool the new to adapt to the old” rather than the other way round.
  • Ecosystem maturity requirements –
    For Cardano to maintain leadership in the Great Digital Awakening, the successful completion of this project is needed right now. Cardano has all the pieces of infrastructure, applications, and other integrations needed for a quality strategy and plan to be created and implemented.

When the antiques market on-boards Cardano it will signal that the future has roots.

Some Antiques Market Metrics to Ponder

Because the antiques market has always been made up of innumerable individual entrepreneurs, it is impossible to accurately estimate metrics such as total sales, number of customers, inventory sizes, or volume of transactions. However, for some reference, here is a basic break down of antiques market segments and “events”.

Some events are large and some are small but for a singular reference, we can look at Round Top, Texas. Twice a year about 1000 dealers set up for 3 weeks of steady commerce. Estimated traffic is 130,000 shoppers.

Antiques dealers rarely share their sales records as every mark-up is different and “real” profits are impossible to know. But here is a conservative estimate of gross sales for this event.

1000 dealers @ $15,000 ea. = $15,000,000 x 2 shows per year = $30,000,000 gross revenues

And remember that the dealers are the best buyers (they make their living doing this). So most of this money stays in the business.

Here is a breakout of the size of the major market segments just in the USA:

  • Antiques Shows: nationwide…1000s
  • Antiques Shops: nationwide…1000s
  • On Site Auctions…nationwide…1000s & 1000s
  • On Line Auctions…nationwide…1000s & 1000s
  • Networking Sales…1000s & 1000s & 1000s…

An all this is done without financial middlemen and with minimum government oversite.

Another metric to ponder is the tremendous interest and support for TV programs such as Antiques Roadshow, Pawn Stars, and American Pickers. Additionally, there is a large, international trade publication business. Round Top has 3 slick magazines published for every show.

All this commercial interest leads to an enormous market of active buyers, sellers, and services. Once Cardano becomes established as the go-to ecosystem for the antiques market, it will basically be established everywhere.

Proposed Project Plan

Presuming this proposal is accepted by Project Catalyst, my wife and I will form an organization with representatives from all segments of the antiques world. Everyone will contribute depending upon the time involved and possible compensation. A few of our contacts include:

  • Many lifetime successful dealers from the US and overseas.
  • Serious collectors who are doctors, lawyers, bankers, and media personalities
  • Well-known designers and decorators who are premiere buyers and promoters of antiques.
  • Promoters of the biggest antiques shows in the USA
  • Editors and owners of major antiques trade papers
  • Executives of brick & mortor and on line auction houses
  • Executives from on-line auction software providers
  • State and local political representatives

Equally important will be input from the Cardano ecosystem, especially those projects evolving around the metaverse, NFTs, and smart contracts. We will actively seek out and engage every Cardano developer who would like to participate or contribute.

A brief biography of Jill and myself: Both of us have made our living in the antiques business for more than 40 years. Jill was an active show manager in NJ and her permanent dealer number at the famous NYC Pier Show is 2. She has built great relationships with many designers and decorators in the major US market as well as overseas. For the past 10 years we have specialized in vintage baths and kitchens. Our main website is LooLooDesign.com.

My big antiques interest has always been architectural. I’ve published several books and many articles about 19th. C American architecture and decorative arts and spoken before many groups around the country. I have presented internet auctions for antique builders’ hardware since 1995, realizing several world record doorknob prices. I am very interested in the intersection of antiques, NFTS, and the Metaverse and own an interesting collection of domain names including NFTiques.nft.

Our initial plan is to open stakeholder conversations that will generate a list of specific ideas to be refined and organized around the principle of “action tracks” that participants believe will lead Cardano to a direct and successful integration into the antiques marketplace.

Three action tracks that stand out immediately are NFTs, the Metaverse, and auction houses. And in fact, all of these are strongly inter-connected.

Certainly, more action tracks will be identified and discussed. Technical input for every good idea will be critical and projected timelines will be equally important. All our efforts will be guided by the Cardano principles of doing things properly the first time.

The over-riding objective of this research and analysis is to bring forth a realistic and well-planned strategy for Cardano to become the ecosystem of choice for the antiques business.

Conclusion

Antiques is the perfect market for bringing the Cardano ecosystem (and Web 3) into widespread acceptance and use.

Cardano needs a strategy of how best to join the antiques market rather than trying to sell the market on joining us.

This project will ferret out the hard core information about where and how Cardano can adapt and create in order to meet the needs of the most diverse, open—and decentralized—market in the world.

The payoff can be equal to the moment when folks no longer had to set the spark and hand-crank the motor in order to start their automobile.