World’s first tokenised cask of whisky to be sold as NFTs

By Raffaele Redi

UniCask to issue the world’s first NFTs representing shared ownership of a whisky cask

Casks of whisky                                 
Whisky casks – Photo: UniCask

UniCask, a Japanese company which facilitates the trading of fine spirits, has announced plans to release the world’s first NFTs representing shared ownership of a whisky cask on the Ethereum blockchain.

According to UniCask, bidders will share around 200 bottles of Springbank 1991, a 112.2-litre hogshead of single malt scotch whisky distilled at Springbank Distillery in the UK with an ABV of 56.40%.

The owner of each fractionalised Cask NFT can exchange their token for whisky on a fixed date in the future – when the cask is bottled – and take part in games that are exclusive to the UniCask community. Anyone wishing to purchase a Cask NFT must be legally able to consume alcohol in their country of residence.

Proof of ownership

One reason that UniCask is embarking on the project is that proving the true ownership of spirit casks has been, traditionally, troublesome for the industry.

“Because the only proof of ownership was on paper, once it gets lost or distorted or trading with someone online, proving the ownership was quite a hassle. For the above reasons, trading of whisky casks could not be scaled up to include general collectors and amateurs who require more frequent ownership changes,” said the company.

“To solve this problem, UniCask minted NFTs linked to Japanese whisky to customers overseas in April 2021”, UniCask added.

In April, the company released the beta version of its UniCask app, which allows users to easily buy, sell, own and manage whisky and spirits casks from a smartphone. The app enables users to prove ownership of casks, register transfers and manage the online trading history of individual casks.

The luxury whisky cask

Another NFT, called The Angel’s Share, grants ownership of a cask of 1991 Macallan Butt, which is currently stored at the Macallan distillery in Scotland. The artwork, by well-known NFT artist Trevor Jones, will grant the winning bidder of the mid-October auction ownership of both. However, that NFT represents an entire cask, not shared ownership –  and it has a $2m valuation.

The whisky cask in question could in fact become the most expensive ever, considering that the record price for a whisky cask sold at auction was set at $573,000 (HK$4,464,000) last month by another 1991 Macallan at Bonhams in Hong Kong. The $1.45m purchase in 2018 of a bottle of 1926 Macallan also set the current record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold.

UniCask did not immediately respond to a request for comment

Further reading: Angel’s Share NFT artwork valued at $2m

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