Decrypt’s Art, Fashion, and Entertainment Hub.
At the Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this week, San Diego-based blockchain company Watch Skins announced a new marketplace where smartwatch faces can be traded online as crypto-collectibles.
Think of it as CryptoKitties, but for watches: [Your brand here] creates a licensed smartwatch face with Watch Skins, which sells it to customers through the Watch Faces marketplace. Major sports teams, fashion brands and TV channels have expressed interest, CEO Collin Knock told Decrypt.
“Before, people couldn't prove the authenticity of a digital image or a digital watch skin,” said the 38-year-old CEO. “The blockchain is used to verify the authenticity of the brand, as well as track and trace the movement of these skins around the world.”
Skins can be traded with anyone on the Watch Skins platform. Each trade on the marketplace costs $1, but apart from that, “we don’t want to get in the way of people making money,” said Knock.
Knock said Watch Skins are more than just screensavers for phones. “It’s not a screensaver. The watch is capable of playing high definition videos, looping videos, animated videos and animated cartoons.”
So, a wallpaper, then? “No, it’s not just a wallpaper,” he said. “The technology we’re working on also has the ability to pull in sports scores and send you tweets from your favorite celebrity. It’s very interactive.”
All of this, Knock said, makes crypto-collectibles useful. With CryptoKitties, “there was very little utility. It was a neat concept, it was novel, but there was no real way to show off your collection. We have taken it a step further and actually built these digital collectibles with real utility, like the ability to pull in data from any other website or any other company that we're working with.”
Critically, these watches are limited edition, as decided by the clients. So if you’ve got, say, a $10,000 Gucci watch skin, where each pixel on the watch face is hand-drawn by weeping schoolchildren in Tuscany, you might hold just one copy of a thousand.
Watch Skins hasn’t secured deals with any high-profile brands yet, but has launched a subsidiary, Crypto Watches, which will sell the first skins in spring 2020. Watch Skins’ Singapore-based subsidiary is working on launching an ICO of its WATCH “utility” token.
Decrypt’s interview ends there; Knock checked his WATCH and has to go meet a client.