Digital trading

Trade in rare whisky given digital flavour

Murray Holdgate: a community built on transparency

It was arguably the perfect setting for a meeting of ancient and modern. WhiskyGenius – a blockchain-driven global marketplace for secure ownership of rare brands – held its launch party in the fortified surroundings of Edinburgh Castle.

The company allows investors and collectors to trade investment-level bottles and casks of rare whisky transparently through a ‘product’ called secure digital ownership (SDO). They do not take possession of the physical bottle, but own it, or a share of it, virtually.

To mark the occasion, the first rare whisky available for purchase on the platform was a limited 50-bottle allocation of The Glenlivet 23 year old directly from Pernod Ricard, which sold out in less than 24 hours.

Murray Holdgate, CEO & founder, said the process takes out the invisible cost add-ons as whisky moves around the market.

“Our goal is to create a secure environment for whisky where it doesn’t inflate in price as it moves between continents,” he said.

“It is a community built on transparency where people from all areas can learn about whisky, enjoy whisky, and invest in authentic products in a secure and innovative way.”

Mr Holdgate, 38, is a former banker from London who worked in Hong Kong and started an alternative asset fund eight years ago.

“I landed on whisky when I realised there was a gap in the market for secure ownership and authentication.”

He now has a team of five in Edinburgh and London and 30 in Hong Kong.

Raphaël Jouve, global marketing manager for The Glenlivet at Chivas Brothers, Pernod Richard, said: “The WhiskyGenius model is compelling and is opening up new markets, giving our brands the opportunity to connect with new audiences.

“With The Glenlivet we’ve always tried to do things in a unique and different way, and the NFT space is something that we’re looking to invest more in the future.”

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