Social media personality and YouTuber Logan Paul has announced a new company developing a blockchain-based marketplace with a unique twist. The new company has raised $8 million in funding and is already attracting curiosity and skepticism with an interesting plan to democratize the ownership of rare and collectible items for ordinary people.
Paul’s career as a YouTuber and social media personality began on YouTube and Vine in the mid-2010s. Since then he has appeared in films and on television, including Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and the film series from YouTube The thinning. He also made a debut WWE SmackDown in 2021 and lately has been pursuing a career in boxing. However, Paul’s career has been marred by controversy, including the infamous 2017 Suicide Forest controversy, which prompted widespread backlash.
Paul’s new venture, Liquid Marketplace, was announced on Twitter just this week. Paul claims the company aims to “fractionate costly assets” and allow anyone to co-own a chosen value or collectible. Users can buy tokens held on the Ethereum blockchain that represent a stake in the physical item. The goods themselves are stored in a physical vault by Liquid Marketplace. The company also takes responsibility for authenticating and grading the items, according to its website.
Paul’s interest in collectibles came to the fore last year when he invested in the first edition Pokemon Cards went wrong. The cards, purchased for $3.5 million, were unwrapped in the presence of Baseball Card Exchange staff (who had previously reviewed the items). Then the cards turned out to be fake, leaving Paul with a massive loss. However, Paul has now really appropriated Pokemon Cards, including the world’s rarest Pokémon card, which sold for $5 million.
The concept of tokenizing physical goods and storing them in a vault is bound to attract some interest from blockchain enthusiasts. The marketplace appears to be similar in style to NFT marketplaces, although tying tokens to tangible assets arguably gives added legitimacy to the value. However, some commentators argue that the tokenization of physical items will lead to ownership disputes. Liquid Marketplace claims that the tokens are real joint ownership and not shares, but how that works in practice is another matter.
In a philosophical sense, if thousands of people claim ownership of an item but have no meaningful access or control over it, then you don’t own that item in a meaningful sense. This seems to be a big problem and goes against the motivations of “real life” collectors. However, people who are already excited about NFT marketplaces might find this an enticing concept.
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