Here’s why a multi-million dollar toy company is venturing into the metaverse

When Jackson Aw was introduced to blockchain technology in 2018, he “didn’t understand it at all”.

“Can someone cover it up for me even further? Can you tell me, for example, what I can get as a consumer?”

That was four years ago. Today, Aw, seems to have the answer to that question.

The 32-year-old Singaporean, who runs Mighty Jaxx — a multi-million dollar toy company that produces collectibles and lifestyle products — has incorporated blockchain into his products.

A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records every transaction that has taken place. Nor can it be tampered with or changed retroactively.

CNBC Make It finds out why it “makes sense” for the collectibles empire to tap into blockchain opportunities and bet on the metaverse.

Unique certificates

Founded in 2012, Mighty Jaxx collaborates with some of the biggest global brands and visual artists, producing trendy collectibles that incorporate pop culture and design.

Aw said the company has since sold millions of collectible toys to people in more than 80 countries.

Mighty Jaxx’s limited-edition collectibles can cost up to $1,200 on the website, but on the secondary market, they can fetch “five to ten times” more than their original value, Aw said.

Jackson Aw’s advice for young entrepreneurs? “Fear will always exist. But the question is, what do you think of that?’

Eli Lo

But there is a problem.

“If you want to sell the product, the most important question everywhere is ‘Is it authentic?'”

Aw added: “For collectibles, what? [sellers] What they do is take pictures of the statuette and post them on Facebook groups, asking people to do an authenticity check.”

However, Aw was not satisfied with this way of authenticating.

“Whose word does it say? Where did it come from? So we thought, okay, that’s what we need.”

Mighty Jaxx designed a Near-Field Communication chip, which is built into every toy. “With our app you can [scan the chip]register your ownership of the item,” said company founder Jackson Aw.

Eli Lo

Mighty Jaxx designed a near-field communication chip and put one in every toy. NFC technology enables short-range wireless communication between two devices.

“With our app you can [scan the chip]register your ownership of the item [to show] it’s an authentic Mighty Jaxx product,” Aw said.

Powered by blockchain, the platform issues and validates unique, tamper-resistant certificates for each product. It also provides a digital footprint when ownership of an item changes.

…content and intellectual property is key, because without it all [visual] representation, that technology does nothing

Jackson Aw

Founder, Mighty Jaxx

“If Jay Chou or JJ Lin had that figurine before you did, that’s definitely much more valuable than me owning it,” Aw jokes. Jay Chou and JJ Lin are popular Mandarin pop singers.

Providing reliable authentication through blockchain technology is just “the beginning” for Mighty Jaxx.

A ‘phygital’ edge

With the non-replaceable token market booming in 2021, Aw said it was then “a culture shift as we knew it.”

†[Being] artists and creators in general… has always been more of a service-based work. But now it turned. Now content and intellectual property are essential because without it all [visual] representation, that technology does nothing,” explains Aw.

“Nothing speaks louder than visual form.”

NFTs are crypto-based digital assets that also function as collectibles – something Mighty Jaxx is no stranger to.

That’s why it “makes sense” for Aw to venture into space, offering fans exclusive digital experiences with physical collectibles.

“If you buy our NFTs, you get access and the ability to buy its physical manifestation in that design. So only this group of people could buy this figure,” Aw said.

“Because only they could do it and they can combine both asset classes, it generates even higher value for them.”

Collectors who purchase Mighty Jaxx’s NFTs get exclusive access to purchase physical manifestations of the same design, which “generate even more value for them,” according to Jackson Aw.

Mighty Jaxx

Aw believes this is Mighty Jaxx’s “phygital” edge over its competitors – being able to offer both digital and physical assets.

“The fact that we create digital assets before we produce the physical toys … means we can also get to market faster,” he added.

“I can’t think of, you know, 10 other companies that do that around the world, simply because the work that goes into making hardware or a [physical] collectible, of course it’s just a steeper learning curve.”

Metaverse expansion

In 2021 Mighty Jaxx launched its first collection of NFT trading cards, featuring cats that resemble Chinese cuisine, dim sum.

“We launched 6,000 units, within…two seconds they were just sold out,” Aw said.

Mighty Jaxx got its big break with DC Comics by entering into a licensing partnership in 2015, which allowed it to “restyle” its creative intellectual property.

Since then, it has partnered with renowned brands to reach fandoms around the world, from Adidas, Hasbro and Nickelodeon to Formula 1, Sesame Street and Netflix.

Aw says “there’s still a lot of work to do,” with plans to expand his IP collaborations into the metaverse as well.

The metaverse is a collection of virtual worlds where people live, work and play.

Mighty Jaxx’s first collection of NFT trading cards sold out in “2 seconds,” according to Jackson Aw.

Mighty Jaxx

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