As the NFT wave sweeps the globe, NFT platform Arianee is helping usher in a new dawn for brands across industries. Founded in 2017, the platform enables brands to add digital value to their real-life products, experiences, digital products, or engagement. Essentially, they are using blockchain technology to transform the way users interact with brands.
Today, Arianee already boasts of partnerships with the who’s who of the luxury and fashion industries and plans to expand into other sectors. Some of its notable partners include Breitling, Vacheron Constantin, and Richemont.
Frédéric Montagnon, Co-founder and Chairman of Arianee, was the first to envision the project, says Pierre-Nicolas Hurstel, their Co-founder and CEO. Montagnon, a serial entrepreneur who has founded startups like OverBlog, LGO, and Secret Media, became interested in Bitcoin in 2013. Interestingly, at the time, what struck him was not the “financial or speculative aspects of Bitcoin”. Rather, it was the novel decentralised organisations that these communities were using that piqued his interest. Years later, when blockchain technology matured, he decided to build a team of co-founders to develop Arianee.
This was no small team. From serial entrepreneurs Julien Romanetto and Alexandre Cognard to former business analyst Luc Jodet, the team comes with broad expertise. Their vision—to help brands seamlessly enter the world of Web3.
“More and more physical goods, digital goods, concert tickets, wealth, access cards, all of this are going to take the form of tokens that people will truly own, that will have this notion of scarcity that never existed online before Web3,” Hurstel tells NFTevening. “In this tokenized world, there will be a need for an infrastructure dedicated to brands that were not born in the digital space.”
Along with this, the firm is aiming to solve a larger issue—data privacy.
How Arianee is addressing the need for greater data privacy
In an increasingly digitised world, there is an ever-growing need for data privacy. The modern world, Hurstel noted, is marred by “the wrongful exploitation of data by centralised systems.” With “middlemen everywhere”, brands have to “play by the rules” set by a few companies making a lot of money. Arianee’s aim, thus, was also to offer greater data privacy and give the power back to the consumers. The latter, in fact, is part of the company’s mission statement on their website.
“We’re trying to build a web that is decentralized, safe, and where the sovereignty of the data, and the relationship is back in the hands of brands, creators, and final consumers,” he added.
But, how do you bring data privacy to a decentralised technology like blockchain that stores data permanently and publicly?
Arianee has a simple solution in place—to never record consumers’ personal data anywhere. Take for example the Arianee platform’s encrypted digital wallet, where users can store their assets on the blockchain. In order to register and store their assets, users do not need to give any personal information. The wallet only stores NFTs as you could expect from a Web3 non-custodial wallet.
Now, users can access and manage the assets in their wallet through a white label app or web app. This way, users get complete power over their personal information.
At the same time, increased data privacy does not come at the cost of personalization, Hurstel added. In fact, based on the nature of digital goods a user owns, brands can offer more “personalization and customization.”
How brands can utilise Web3, the metaverse, and NFTs
“We’re already in the metaverse,” Hurstel says, indicating our call over Zoom. Pointing out his backdrop that features Arianee’s logo, he adds: “It could be branded with the brand that I like”. Alternatively, he added, “I could show my personality by showing you what I own.”
Therein lies the potential of the metaverse. Combined with NFTs and other tokens, there’s much that brands can reap from the current Web3 revolution.
“Today, anyone who’s selling products and experiences should think about the place of NFTs and tokens in Web3, within their client experience,” Hurstel said. “When you look at valuable goods, you have a couple of issues to solve— authenticity, ownership, circularity, loyalty, and engagement. And NFTs can solve pretty much all of that.”
He further explained that brands can add value to physical products by adding digital items that customers can use online. There’s also a new revenue stream thanks to exclusive digital products. Moreover, brands can leverage metaverses to drive “social commitment and engagement.” For example, he added, brands can offer loyalty cards to customers that give them exclusive access to certain spaces in Decentraland.
“Web3 is kind of a renaissance of the possibility for creators and brands to be directly in touch with their communities, without anyone processing data in the middle,” Hurstel noted.
So, how’s Arianee helping brands?
Arianee’s primary offering is the Arianee open-source, blockchain-based protocol targeting traditional brands. “[The protocol] has been designed to mint NFTs for non-crypto native brands that represent digital goods, physical goods, or access and community passes,” Hurstel said. “Then, on top of that, we build interfaces that brands can use to connect with the information system and to activate the experience with their final clients.”
A notable example is the NFT digital passport—a virtual representation of a physical item. Essentially, a passport functions as a private digital record linked to a physical item. This can easily provide security, authenticity, ownership, and traceability. In Swiss luxury watchmaker, Breitling’s case, the digital passport provides a digital certificate. Users can also access the product’s full history, customer service, and more—all with a few clicks.
On the other hand, retail fashion brand ba&sh is using this technology to facilitate their second-hand resale solution. Another partner is RSVP, a luxury leather goods brand that produces a limited edition of 500 products. In addition, the brand offers free repairs for life as well as free exchanges or returns up to a year. For a brand like RSVP that focuses on scarcity, the digital passport serves as a remarkable tool to prove authenticity.
For crypto brands—any DAOs, crypto projects, DeFi projects, and more—Arianee is building SPKZ. SPKZ (pronounced SpeakEasy) is a decentralized community platform where crypto brands “can create token-gated digital spaces”. Basically, this allows brands to gather their community to “exchange, talk, push content, and create commerce.”
At the crux of the Arianee protocol is the Aria20 token, the ERC-20 utility token powering the ecosystem. “It guarantees the independence and the fair sharing of the revenues among the participants of the network and the people who build on the protocol,” Hurstel explained.
What’s next for the platform?
This year, Arianee is focusing on hiring developers and building the tech infrastructure. Delivering more projects with more brands is another priority, Hurstel said. In particular, the company is hoping to foray into high-end fashion, wine and spirits, and maybe even entertainment. The company, surely, has some tall orders to meet. But, the team is driven by its mission to build an open, transparent, and decentralized relationship between brands and customers.
“We started with luxury but our goal is to reach any kind of brand, who is interested in building the future of their customer relationships based on digital value,” Hurstel insists. “We’re building open-source protocols, apps, and software that are allowing these brands to design, mint, and distribute digital value to their communities, their clients, or prospects. And on top of that, to create a new form of relationship with them.”
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