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Community

How to Cherish Authenticity in The Transition From Ownership To Access

SEAL | 03.06| 305

Taking a limousine ride to your next Awards Night, would add to an awesome experience for you. Having to own a limousine which you would probably ride less than ten times a year would likely be a tortuous experience for you. This briefly tries to paint a picture which is already unfolding: consumers are making a transition from ownership to access. Never before in history have humans had a suite of limitless options. It’s therefore not surprising to see that the available options include how they wish to acquire properties. For what products will people opt for access (use of) and which products would still be worth having? You’ll find answers as you read on.

Ownership grants you full, uninterrupted rights to a particular property, everyone loves that. However, in today’s digital world, coupled with the fact that most owned properties are now being shared or rarely used, access, although with limited rights, is fast becoming a preferred option. When last did you purchase a movie CD? You probably streamed on Netflix or went to the nearest cinema with your significant other. Millennials and today’s consumers are moving towards a more efficient use of products.

Benefits of Access in Consumerism
Before now, access, usually synonymous to renting, was cloaked in negative perception and stigmatization. Many saw it as wasteful, expensive and a sign of not being well-to-do. It’s obvious, the tides are turning, and more and more millenials, are opting for access over ownership. A lifestyle of access is now in vogue, consumers 4now have varieties at their disposal, anytime, anywhere. The best part? They don’t have to own it and get burdened with the baggage.

Today’s consumer would rather pay for the experience they get from using a property than take on the huge responsibility and costs associated with owning the property. Especially, when they are aware this experience could be gotten through access to the property, even without them having ownership.

Most times, consumers of this age favour access over ownership for digital products or products which can be easily shared, like music, car rides or books. That’s because sharing and access does not actually work in all cases. Although, sharing and access businesses like Uber, Netflix and Airbnb have recorded huge success. But, for properties like art, branded personal goods, luxury or classic items, ownership would always be the case. In fact, being special properties, value of ownership for them would increase.

New Cloak of Value for Ownership
Beyond doubts, access based businesses like the ones we mentioned above have shown that the sharing economy is here to stay. The important question left to ask is how this will affect society — producers and consumers? It’s already evident that society has adopted the new transition. Nevertheless, ownership would not become obliterated, instead, value of ownership would rise for special items and items of personal value.

The transition towards the sharing economy raises one big question, that involves all of us. Are we willing to give up ownership? Or better, what will still be worth having? Owning a movie on DVD doesn’t seem to be very interesting unless you’re planning to watch the same movie over and over again. But what if you spent months anticipating and searching for that limited edition item, that completes your collection? Or a piece of family heritage. This is not just a matter of ‘civilized’ materialism, these items hold special personal value. These items are not a product of fast production but are forged out of hard work and meaningful effort. They embody authenticity. The value of these authentic products are more than just the intrinsic value that can be expressed in financial units. It is more important than ever to protect the value of authentic products.

Distressingly, the over $100 billion sharing economy brings to the fore issues of authenticity of products. Another issue to be expected would be the increase in the need for establishing ownership of those special properties earlier mentioned.

Protecting Authenticity
While we admit that the sharing economy would continue to expand, we must acknowledge the fact that people still wish to have ownership of certain items they value. But with counterfeiting on the high, many consumers resort to access as they are unable to verify a product’s authenticity. Counterfeiting not only puts life and limb in danger, it also tarnishes the reputation of a brand. Being able to claim ownership to a product would soon become essential for people who deal in special goods, like art collectors.

To address these issues, adopting NFC chips solutions would be the best. Seal, a start-up that uses blockchain integrated NFC chips to protect the authenticity of valuable products, would be offering this solution through an app that let’s one verify the authenticity of products that have an NFC chip embedded in them. By inputting details and information of an item on the blockchain, it becomes easy for anyone to trace the product from manufacturer to the current owner or individual with access. It works by incorporating relevant information of a physical product into an NFC enabled Seal Chip. This information constitutes a digital counterpart of the product on the blockchain. A consumer with a smartphone running the Seal App, can ‘automagically’ verify a product’s authenticity with a tap.

Seal app demo for collectors item

On the other hand, consumers can confirm the authenticity of a product they wish to own or gain access to via an NFC chip on their mobile. People can also register their own properties, especially the special properties earlier mentioned, on the Seal Network, making it easier to prove ownership if the need ever arises. Such services would be paid for using the Seal Tokens. With Seal, brands can repair any damaged reputation (due to counterfeiting) by recording the details of all their authentic products on the blockchain. Anyone along the supply chain would be able to verify each product.

Consumer’s interaction with products is changing. Access is gaining popularity, because for a lot of goods, it means that the efficiency of use grows. Simultaneously, ownership for special goods would also continue to grow. Blockchain technology would play a huge role in this transition process by helping brands and individuals protect their ownership.


How to Cherish Authenticity in The Transition From Ownership To Access was originally published in Seal Network on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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