Beloved cultural icon William Shatner has teamed up with the London-based Mattereum in a partnership that will use the startup’s Ethereum-centric Asset Passport tech to secure the authenticity of real-world collectibles.

Unveiled as part of New York Blockchain Week’s festivities, the initiative will showcase how Mattereum’s legally-binding approach to smart contracts and tokenization can bring superior security and authenticity guarantees to the way commerce occurs around physical assets, e.g. collectible memorabilia.

William Shatner

Holding up an autographed action figure of “Capt. James Kirk in Casual Attire,” Shatner accordingly highlighted in his own announcement video the first so-called “digital twin” to be formally launched by Mattereum’s Asset Passport system.

“A chip, a token, my signature, and a number … one of a kind,” Shatner said.

Vinay Gupta, the chief executive officer of Mattereum and one-time Ethereum launch coordinator, hailed the partnership as another step pointing toward a “new way of thinking” about how the digital world and the physical world can, or even should, interact:

“Mattereum is weaving the digital and physical together in a new way. Today we verify that assets are genuine. Soon, we will showcase our blockchain systems for effortless, elegant trade, transfer, track and trace, even physical search. It comes from a new way of thinking about how computers can upgrade physical matter into something more conceptual, more responsive. We are also going to provide the frameworks for environmental impact and carbon tracking.”

More on Mattereum

The Mattereum Protocol aims to “move assets in a way the law recognizes” using blockchain technology, i.e. Ethereum.

The project is headed up by crypto ecosystem standouts like Gupta and the company’s chief scientist Ian Grigg, creator of Ricardian Contracts — the “canonical design pattern for tying a legal contract to a digital asset” leveraged at the heart of Mattereum, per Grigg’s company landing page.

Mattereum uses a “Smart Property Register” to authoritatively track the asset passports which themselves track property rights and prevent double spends around physical assets, like Shatner’s Captain Kirk action figure. Asset passports, which are simultaneously legal and smart contracts, link an owner to an object and comprise the Smart Property Register.

The advantages of such a tokenized system? Physical assets can become extremely liquid with regard to commerce. Even the staking of such assets will be possible in the future, Mattereum says.

The Unfurling Trend of Tokenization

Mattereum is angling to help order an increasingly tokenized world. One industry that seems primed to make use of such a system? Real estate.

Fluidity, the result of a merger between a ConsenSys DEX and broker-dealer Propellr, announced at its eponymous Fluidity Summit on May 9th it would be tokenizing mortgages atop Ethereum later this year.

The initiative will see the startup using smart contracts to tokenize real estate in major U.S. jurisdictions like New York and California to start. And Fluidity’s not the only project working to bring tokenization to real estate through Ethereum, either.

RealT, which also launched this month, is similarly gunning to offer digitized real estate via tokens.

And more industries beyond real estate are also turning to Ethereum tokens.

For example, Societe Generale (SocGen), France’s third largest bank and Europe’s sixth largest, announced last month that it had released a batch of bonds in the form of security tokens created through Ethereum.

The bond offering, which was backed by €100 million EUR, marked the first time a major bank has turned to a public blockchain to underpin a mainstream asset. SocGen characterized Ethereum as capable of streamlining the bond issuance process:

“This live transaction explores a more efficient process for bond issuances […] It proposes a new standard for issuances and secondary market bond trading and reduces cost and the number of intermediaries.”


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Posted by William M. Peaster

William M. Peaster is an editor and cryptocurrency writer. He is not a financial adviser. He enjoys covering both the promise and warts of the emerging cryptoeconomy. Follow him on Twitter: @WPeaster


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